If you want to understand the potential outcomes of Elon Musk’s $43 billion fight to take Twitter private, look at the company’s stock price today, in the immediate aftermath of his hostile offer. Basically, the Twitter stock is flat. It was up about 9 percent in pre-market trading, then slowly drifted back down. Some pundits are concluding that, as a result, the market is not taking Musk’s offer seriously because, you know, Musk is not a serious guy to begin with; his offer is subject to financing (not secured) and due diligence, et cetera—in other words, the same conditions that exist for all deals before they are concluded.
I disagree completely with this premise. I think the reaction of the Twitter stock today represents the market’s conclusion that Musk is a serious guy—at least about this—and that there are no other viable bidders to compete with him. His $54.20 bid for the company, in other words, may well be his highest and best offer, exactly as he said in his latest public filing. “I am not playing the back-and-forth game,” he wrote to the Twitter board. “I have moved straight to the end.”
You’ve got to respect the take-it-or-leave-it approach. I certainly do. Musk also wrote, correctly, that his offer is a 54 percent premium to where the Twitter stock was trading before he started buying it on January 31, and that it is at a 38 percent premium to where the stock was the day before he announced his 9.1 percent stake in the company, making him the largest shareholder by just a smidge above Vanguard. “It’s a high price and your shareholders will love it,” Musk also wrote.