Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal sought to bring ease to employees' concerns on Thursday and reassured that the company was not being "held hostage" in reaction to Elon Musk's proposed offer to buy the social media platform for $43 billion.
According to Reuters, Agrawal took questions from staff during a companywide meeting on Thursday and allegedly told them, "We as employees control what happens" while encouraging them to remain focused. Employees submitted questions to ask the CEO in the company's Slack messaging service.
During the meeting, Agrawal told staff that Musk's offer is still under review by the board of directors. However, the CEO indicated that the board will be acting in the best interest of shareholders, Reuters reports.
"Are we just going to start inviting any and all billionaires to the board?" an employee asked Agrawal.
"I have a strong point of view that people who are critical of our service, their voice is something that we must emphasize so that we can learn and get better," Agrawal responded after informing that the board will act in interest of shareholders.
On the topic of free speech, another employee asked Agrawal to address how he viewed Musk's definition of free speech and whether it aligned with how Twitter approaches the concept, according to Reuters.
In response, Agrawal said that the company was focused on continuously improving "the health of conversation" on Twitter, but didn't provide further details.
In what's being described as a "best and final" offer to buy Twitter Inc., Tesla CEO Elon Musk launched a "hostile takeover" bid early Thursday morning of $54.20 per share in cash.
In a tweet, Musk announced that he'd made an offer and linked to the SEC filing.
Musk's offer would represent a 54 percent premium over the Jan 28. closing price and a value of about $43 billion" according to Bloomberg Business.
The 50-year-old electric car mogul filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday morning. That filing included a letter sent to Twitter's Chairman of the Board Bret Taylor, reading:
"I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.
"However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.
"As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.
"Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it."
After his initial purchase of 9.1 percent of a stake in the company, Musk was set to join the Twitter board of directors. However, Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter, announced on the platform Sunday night that Elon Musk "decided not to join" the tech giant's board.
This led to speculation that Musk was planning a hostile takeover of the company. Had he decided to join the board, he would have to cap his ownership of the company at 15 percent.
The filing shows that "Musk has hired Morgan Stanley as his adviser for the takeover. The offer price also includes the number 420, widely recognized as a coded reference to marijuana. He also picked $420 as the share price for possibly taking Tesla private in 2018, a move that brought him scrutiny from the SEC."
Some had been suggesting that a hostile takeover could be a possibility. "He wants the influence, and so the potential is now set up for a hostile takeover of Twitter or at least, the threat of a hostile takeover of Twitter if they do not change their wayward ways," Jack Posobiec said on Human Events Daily earlier this week.
The board announced that they would be meeting on Thursday after Musk publicly stated his intention to buy, saying that it was his "best and final" offer. A source told The New York Times that the board is trying to design whether or not to move ahead with a shareholder rights plan "that would limit the ability of a single shareholder" to acquire an excess amount of stock, forcing the company into a sale.
This is a tactic used by companies in an attempt to thwart what's known as a hostile takeover of a company, where the company could create new shares that would limit the value of existing shares.
Musk does have the ability to directly reach out to shareholders to buy more stock if the board rejects his bid. Musk also said on Thursday, in an interview with TED2022, that he has a plan B, though he would not elaborate on what that was.
The New York Times reports that shareholders are concerned that Musk does not have the capital for the investment, though he has said outright that he is able to fund the buy. Musk would prefer a situation where shareholders stay with the company and work with him to bring the platform more in line with free speech laws.
Musk said that the shareholders should be given a vote. And in fact, he offered a more than a fair price per share, over $54.