Elon Musk has secured the funding he needs to acquire Twitter. Like, for real this time.
According to a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk has received commitments from a collection of banks led by Morgan Stanley to provide $46.5 billion to take Twitter private. Musk's first offer to Twitter was contingent on his ability to secure financing, but the filing reads, Musk's proposal "is no longer subject to financing as a result of the Reporting Person’s receipt of the financing commitments."
Given his, er, rocky history of making grand promises about having the "funding secured" to take over Tesla — promises which were later found by a court to be false — skepticism has abounded regarding Musk's ability to actually make good on his Twitter offer. Even the richest man in the world's not that liquid. Musk himself had seemed a little uncertain about the source of funding during an interview at TED the day news of his offer became public. "I have sufficient assets," he said at the time. "I mean, I can do it if possible."
Musk also used that opportunity to rewrite history about his infamous tweet about having sufficient funding to buy Tesla. The shareholder who took Musk to court over that tweet and won is now seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Musk from continuing to make that claim.
Musk's offer to buy Twitter remains non-binding, so he can still walk away at any time. He also wrote in the filing that as Twitter's board has "not responded" to his proposal, he may pursue a tender offer, meaning he would skip the board and go directly to other shareholders seeking to buy their Twitter stock.
Meanwhile, Twitter's board has already laid out its poison pill defense against the takeover. If anyone, Musk included, acquires more than 14.9% of the company's shares, Twitter will offer all other shareholders additional stock at a discounted price. That would dilute Musk's stake and make it even more expensive for him to acquire the company.
Musk's desire to privatize Twitter is driven by his belief that the platform doesn't sufficiently allow for free speech. During his discussion at TED, Musk said that Twitter ought to allow all legal speech in the countries where it operates. That, of course, doesn't account for the fact that laws around online speech in, say, Russia, India or, more recently, Europe, are more restrictive than in the United States.
Twitter employees in particular have worried that a Musk takeover would undo the work they've done to enhance content moderation and safety on the platform in recent years. Staffers focused on ethics at the company publicly celebrated when Twitter announced Musk would no longer be joining the board.
But the ordeal is far from over — and it's only gotten more politicized. Just this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatened Twitter with a lawsuit over the board's rejection of Musk's offer. (Florida, through a state pension fund, is a Twitter shareholder.) Musk, meanwhile, is facing a suit from a different Twitter shareholder who claims Musk delayed disclosing his stake in the company so he could acquire more shares at a lower price.