Elon Musk sells $8.4bn of Tesla shares amid Twitter offer • The Register | #microsoft | #hacking | #cybersecurity


Elon Musk has sold $8.4 billion of Tesla shares over the past few days and reportedly wants to hire a new Twitter CEO, after the company’s board accepted his offer to privatize the social media biz.

The tech billionaire has filed multiple Form 4s, detailing the sale of his Tesla shares with America’s SEC this week. He sold 4.4 million shares on Tuesday and Wednesday, and another 5.2 million on Thursday, as noticed by CNBC. Tesla’s stock price fell 12 percent on Tuesday. 

Twitter accepted Musk’s bid to acquire the company for $54.20 per share, a total cost of about $44 billion. He has agreed to put in $21 billion from his own fortunes while the remaining $25.5 billion will be footed by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others via debt financing. 

The takeover hasn’t been finalized just yet; it still needs to be approved by shareholders and regulatory agencies. Musk, however, already has grand plans to shuffle management and introduce features to monetize the platform, according to rumors reported by Reuters.

He apparently wants to replace the current CEO Parag Agrawal, who is expected to remain until the sale is finalized. The Tesla and SpaceX supremo earlier this week tweeted to his 86 million followers a meme critiquing Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, causing some netizens to pile in with racist abuse. Under the terms of his offer, Musk must not disparage Twitter and its representatives.

Musk also mentioned cutting jobs as part of his pitch to banks, Bloomberg reported, and defunding the board of directors.

In a series of now-deleted tweets, Musk said he wanted to wind down advertising on the social media platform and implement a cryptocurrency payments system. Other proposals for boosting engagement and monetization Musk has reportedly floated around, include charging websites that want to embed tweets from verified accounts. He also said Twitter’s direct messaging service should support end-to-end encryption.

It’s not clear yet how Twitter will change under Musk’s direction. He has been a vocal supporter of what is his interpretation of free speech, and vowed to make its algorithms more transparent, and remove spam bots. If he decides to back out of the acquisition deal, he faces a $1 billion penalty fee and if Twitter decides to accept another offer from a different buyer, it will have to pay the world’s richest man $1 billion, according to an SEC filing. ®





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