Elon Musk is still in a battle with the Twitter board in his effort to buy Twitter. The board is trying a poison pill defense, making it problematic to acquire more than 15 percent of the shares of the company to try to hold him off. But as we noted, Musk is reportedly looking to partners to potentially get around this effort. That sounds like the “Plan B” that he promised.
Musk has also pointed out that putting out a poison pill effort rather than the board accepting his offer, which would be very beneficial to the shareholders, is not acting in the shareholders’ best interests. Legally, that could be very problematic for the board.
Musk also dunked on the board and asserted that it would be “rigged” if he wasn’t able to buy it. He noted that with Jack Dosey leaving the board, the board members own virtually no shares, so their interests are not aligned with those of the shareholders. One board member had never even logged onto the site.
“Wow, with Jack departing, the Twitter board collectively owns almost no shares!” Musk tweeted. “Objectively, their economic interests are simply not aligned with shareholders.”
Musk also noted that one of the board members, Robert Zoellick, has never even logged onto Twitter.
So it would appear that the board doesn’t have a lot of skin in the game.
On the other hand, as Musk observed on Monday, the board may be against the deal because they could have a lot to lose personally, namely, the big payouts that they get for a very part-time job.
Board salary will be $0 if my bid succeeds, so that’s ~$3M/year saved right there
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 18, 2022
“Board salary will be $0 if my bid succeeds, so that’s ~$3M/year saved right there,” Musk tweeted. Right now they’re paying out about $2.9 million in cash and stock to the board members.
So there’s your answer right there — the board may be willing to throw their shareholders under the bus not just for political reasons but also for their benefit. If I were a shareholder, I’d certainly be upset with them that this is how they handled my interests, if their personal interests took priority over their board obligations. Can we say shareholder revolt and lawsuits coming? I wouldn’t be surprised.
It also looks like Elon may have something of an ally with Jack Dorsey, at least in terms of the problems with the board. Dorsey said the board has consistently been the “dysfunction of the company.” He even admitted he likely wasn’t allowed to say that.
Meanwhile, Elon criticized Facebook’s moderation and he made it clear that he’s not a fan of banning — something he saw as an extreme measure. Elon said his offer is “not a way to make money” but an effort to protect free speech.
Musk appears to believe in erring on the side of allowing the dissemination of information as long as it is legal in the countries the platform operates in.
“I’m not saying that I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things,” Musk said. “And just be very cautious with permanent bans. Timeouts, I think, are better than permanent bans.”
Looks like, under Elon, it’s a safe bet you never would have had a ban on the president of the United States or a lot of the political bannings that you have from the present Twitter oligarchs. That’s a great thing right there: free speech.
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