San Francisco/New Delhi, April 15 Treating Elon Musk’s $43 billion offer to buy Twitter as an “unwelcome” step, the board of the company is reportedly considering a “poison pill” strategy to make it more difficult for Musk to acquire a larger stake in the micro-blogging platform and avoid a hostile takeover.
According to The Information, Twitter’s board of directors view Musk’s hostile takeover offer as “unwelcome”, and are ready to “fight the bid”.
The “poison pill” strategy is used by a firm to prevent or discourage a potential hostile takeover.
It allows existing shareholders the right to purchase additional shares at a discount, effectively diluting the ownership interest of a new and hostile party.
“One person close to the situation said that the board wanted to support CEO Parag Agrawal, who only assumed the role in November. Meanwhile, Musk hasn’t provided details of his plans for Twitter or his financing for the deal,” the report mentioned.
With 9.2 per cent stake, Musk is one of the largest shareholders in Twitter.
Asset management firm Vanguard Group disclosed last week that its funds now own a 10.3 per cent stake in Twitter which makes it the largest shareholder.
Twitter has had some “poison pill” provisions in its bylaws, including the board’s ability to issue “blank check” preferred stock without prior approval, reports The Verge.
Musk said during a Ted Talk session late on Thursday that he has aPlan B’ ready if he fails to acquire 100 per cent of Twitter, without divulging any further details.
“I am not sure that I will actually be able to acquire it,” the billionaire added.
In his offer letter to Twitter’s board, the Tesla CEO had said that he would “need to reconsider (his) position as a shareholder” if the company refuses his offer.
Musk has also started a new poll with his nearly 82 million followers on Twitter, with the subject line “Taking Twitter private at $54.20 should be up to shareholders, not the board”.
“Will endeavour to keep as many shareholders in privatised Twitter as allowed by law,” he posted.
Meanwhile, Agrawal has tried to convince employees that the micro-blogging platform would follow a “rigorous process” on Musk’s “unsolicited, non-binding” offer.
In a meeting with employees, the Indian-origin CEO said the board is still evaluating Musk’s offer and will make a decision “in the best interest of our shareholders”.