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Musk comments came at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver just hours after he revealed in a regulatory filing Thursday that he offered $54.20 per share to buy the platform. Twitter confirmed it had received the bid but its board must still review the offer, which values shares much lower than the $70 they reached last summer. But Musk had said the offer would be his “best and final” one.
Musk said if he is able to buy the company and take it private, he would like to keep as many shareholders involved as allowed under that structure. Even though as the world’s richest man he said he can “technically afford it” but “I don’t care about the economics at all.”
Asked by TED’s Chris Anderson if there was a “Plan B” if his current offer were rejected, Musk said, “there is.”
He declined to elaborate.
Despite his vast wealth, much of Musk’s assets are not liquid, leaving some analysts to wonder how he would provide the funds if his bid were accepted. Anderson asked if he had “funding secured,” alluding to Musk’s infamous tweet when he said he would take Tesla private, which later got him into hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“I have sufficient assets,” Musk said. “I can do it if possible.”
He added in reference to the earlier Tesla take private tweet, “funding was actually secured.”
Musk also laid out his vision for Twitter should he be successful in gaining control.
“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” he said, likening Twitter to a “de facto town square.”
He acknowledged a need for some level of content moderation, like around explicit calls to violence, and said the service would have to comply with the laws of the countries in which it operates.
But, he said, he’d like to see the platform’s policies and algorithm be much more open and accessible so that people can critique it and raise concerns.
Generally, he said “time-outs” are preferable to permanent bans.
He said another top priority would be ridding the platform of “spam and scam bots.”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.