Twitter users say they won’t leave the platform if Elon Musk takes over: Yahoo Finance poll

Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita and Brian Cheung discuss Tesla CEO Elon Musk making an offer to buy Twitter.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: But of course, the big story du jour is Twitter. We were following this story over the last few weeks. And again, Elon Musk bought a stake. He was going to join the board. Then he didn’t join the board. And the big news dropping this morning, as disclosed through an SEC filing, he just wants to buy the whole darn thing now. $54.20 a share, all cash. 4.20– get it?

And he says that it’s either his way or the highway. He’ll reconsider having any stake at all if the board says no. And it’s important to note that Twitter has acknowledged the offer this morning. Apparently, the board met about an hour ago, is what CNBC reported. We haven’t gotten any details on what came out of that meeting, but Akiko, this has gotten a lot of attention on Twitter itself this morning.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, no question about that, Brian. Let’s talk about the stock move first of all because when we first heard of this news this morning, pre-market, we saw it up about 12%. And it feels like over the last few hours, we’ve gone from, yay, Elon Musk is buying the company, to, wait a second, what’s the plan here? And so now we’re seeing it come off of those highs, up about 1.7%.

And there’s still a lot of questions out there. Before everybody goes out and says, Twitter is going to transform now that Elon Musk has purchased the company, number one, what is the plan? Why buy the company? We haven’t heard from Elon Musk on that front. We have heard him say he doesn’t want to go with the revenue model per se, but if you’ve got no revenue or an ad model, I should say, where does the revenue come from?

The other question here, Brian, is, how does he finance this? Yes, he is among the richest people in the world, but we’re talking about more than $40 billion. Is he already in talks with other VCs and investors potentially? And then the other question is, you mentioned the board meeting this morning reportedly, according to CNBC, is Twitter going to shop the company around to other people? And that, to me, is the most interesting question on that front.

Mark Cuban, no surprise, weighing in on this morning, saying Elon may have started this, but his threat to sell his shares, if Twitter says no, opened the door for those tech giants to walk in for relatively little money and grab huge influence at Twitter, or possibly a direct path to acquisition. Elon will smile all the way to the bank.

So Brian, it’s not for us to speculate who’s actually going to come in and bid for the company beyond Elon Musk, but that’s an interesting proposition because the board does now have a duty to do what is in the best interests of shareholders. If we’re talking $54.20 a share, is that in the best interest? And if not, are they going to go ask around to see if anybody else is interested?

BRIAN CHEUNG: I mean, this kind of fits with some of the narrative that I was hearing in the immediate aftermath of the news earlier this morning that maybe this is a way that Elon can get out not gracefully per se, but have some sort of understandable exit out of this company. You put one massive bid out there, and you say, it’s either my way or the highway. And if they don’t take it, you can use that as your out to say, well, I’m just going to get out of the 9% stake that I actually do have right now. And then this whole episode can come to an end.

But that’s only if you assume that Elon doesn’t really care about making changes at this company. And the SEC filing seems to suggest that that’s what this is all about. So if you are a shareholder, the answer here is pretty binary, right? You either want Elon Musk because you think that he’d be good for the profits of this company, or you don’t because at $54.20, that’s a massive upside from when Elon first started buying shares in January. That’s about a 50% premium. So you like that price, you know?

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, it’s a massive upside from when we started buying it. But when you look at where Twitter shares are trading last year, before we saw the big tech sell-off, we’re talking about above $70. So is there really a significant upside to Elon Musk’s change in the company? And I think at the end of the day, you’re right, Brian, as a shareholder, you want to see where the stock moves. But it does, beyond Elon Musk’s tweets, move on the fundamentals. And what does he fundamentally want to change about this company that is going to improve its outlook?

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, and, well, at the end of the day, that’s what this is about, right? Elon wants to make changes. And in fact, we asked this question to our Twitter followers, of course, on Twitter, on our Yahoo Finance account. We asked the question, would you leave Twitter if Elon Musk buys the social media company? Obviously, there’s been this kind of overall narrative as well about billionaires controlling a lot of the social media that we run.

And we were seeing a lot of play on this poll. A lot of people have opinions, but 84% saying no, 14% saying yes. I mean, in my case, I think I’d probably stay on the platform just because of how important is as a news dissemination service. But it seems like a lot of people wouldn’t be all that upset if Elon Musk were to take over this company. Certainly something worth watching.