Twitter, which went public in 2013, has also had a tumultuous corporate history. It has repeatedly faced board dysfunction and drama with its founders, and has been courted by other interested buyers in the past, including Disney and Salesforce. In 2020, activist investment firm Elliott Management took a stake in Twitter and called on Jack Dorsey, one of its founders, to step down as chief executive. Mr Dorsey resigned last year.
“This business is very under-monetized, especially compared to other platforms and competitors like Facebook,” said Pinar Yildirim, professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. “If you look at it from a purely business perspective, there’s definitely room for improvement.”
In a statement, Bret Taylor, chairman of Twitter, said the board had “conducted a thoughtful and thorough process” on Mr. Musk’s offer and that the deal would “provide a substantial cash bonus” to the shareholders.
Regulators are unlikely to seriously challenge the deal, former antitrust officials said, because the government more often than not steps in to stop a deal when a company buys a competitor.
The deal closed within weeks. Mr Musk, who also runs electric car maker Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX, started buying shares of Twitter in January and revealed this month that he had amassed a stake of more than 9%.
This immediately sparked a guessing game about what Mr. Musk planned to do with the platform. Twitter executives initially welcomed him to the board, but he backtracked within days and instead launched a bid to buy the company.
Any deal initially seemed unlikely as the contractor did not say how he would fund the deal. Twitter executives also seemed skeptical, given that it was hard to discern just how much Mr. Musk was joking. In 2018, for example, he tweeted that he planned to take Tesla private and falsely claimed he had “secured funding” for such a deal.