A timeline of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover drama: How it all started

A timeline of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover drama: How it all started

Getting to the top of the social media platform had been a long, twisty road for the planet’s richest man — here’s a quick guide to the key events, plus the tweets that sealed the deal

AFP photo

By Web Desk

Published: Sat 29 Oct 2022, 3:56 PM

After the twists and turns — and all the drama — that went into the making of this takeover saga, Elon Musk shook the Twitterverse as he began his first full day as ‘Chief Twit’ on Friday.

And among his first acts — besides bringing a porcelain sink into the headquarters a few days before — was the reported firing of CEO Parag Agrawal and other senior executives.

Both critics and fans are anxious to see how the planet’s richest man will run one of the world’s leading platforms. After all, getting to the point of takeover had been a long, twisty road — and over the past few months, many even started questioning whether the Tesla chief really wanted to buy Twitter.

Take a look at how everything started. Here’s a timeline:

January 31

Musk starts buying shares of Twitter in near-daily instalments, amassing a 5 per cent stake in the company by mid-March.

March 26

Musk, who has tens of millions of Twitter followers and is active on the site, says he is giving “serious thought” to building an alternative to Twitter, questioning the platform’s commitment to “free speech” and whether Twitter is undermining democracy. He also privately reaches out to Twitter board members including his friend and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

March 27

After privately informing Twitter of his growing stake in the company, Musk starts conversations with its CEO and board members about potentially joining the board. Musk also mentions taking Twitter private or starting a competitor, according to later regulatory filings.

April 4

A regulatory filing reveals that Musk has rapidly become the largest shareholder of Twitter after acquiring a 9 per cent stake, or 73.5 million shares, worth about $3 billion.

April 5

Musk is offered a seat on Twitter’s board on the condition he amass no more than 14.9 per cent of the company’s stock. Here’s what CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet:

April 9

After exchanging pleasantries and bonding by text message over their love of engineering, a short-lived relationship between Agrawal and Musk sours after Musk publicly tweets “Is Twitter dying?” and gets a message from Agrawal calling the criticism unhelpful. Musk tersely responds: “This is a waste of time. Will make an offer to take Twitter private.”

April 11

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announces Musk will not be joining the board after all.

April 14

Twitter reveals in a securities filing that Musk has offered to buy the company outright for about $44 billion.

April 15

Twitter’s board unanimously adopts a “poison pill” defence in response to Musk’s proposed offer, attempting to thwart a hostile takeover.

April 21

Musk lines up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter. Twitter board is under pressure to negotiate.

April 25

Musk reaches a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion and take the company private. The outspoken billionaire has said he wanted to own and privatize Twitter because he thinks it’s not living up to its potential as a platform for free speech

April 29

Musk sells roughly $8.5 billion worth of shares in Tesla to help fund the purchase of Twitter, according to regulatory filings.

May 5

Musk strengthens his offer to buy Twitter with commitments of more than $7 billion from a diverse group of investors including Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

May 10

In a hint at how he would change Twitter, Musk says he’d reverse Twitter’s ban of former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, calling the ban a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”

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May 13

Musk declares his plan to buy Twitter “temporarily on hold.” Musk says he needs to pinpoint the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform. Shares of Twitter tumble, while those of Tesla rebound sharply.

June 6

Musk threatens to end his $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter, accusing the company of refusing to give him information he requested about its spam bot accounts.

July 8

Musk says he will abandon his offer to buy Twitter after the company failed to provide enough information about the number of fake accounts.

July 12

Twitter sues Musk to force him to complete the deal. Musk soon countersues.

July 19

A Delaware judge says the Musk-Twitter legal dispute will go to trial in October.

August 23

A former head of security at Twitter alleges the company misled regulators about its poor cybersecurity defences and its negligence in attempting to root out fake accounts that spread misinformation. Musk eventually cites the whistleblower as a new reason to scuttle his Twitter deal.

October 5

Musk offers to go through with his original proposal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Twitter says it intends to close the transaction after receiving Musk’s offer.

October 6

Delaware judge delays Oct. 17 trial until November and gives both sides until Oct. 28 to reach agreement to close the deal.

October 20

The Washington Post reports that Musk told prospective Twitter investors that he plans to lay off 75% of the company’s 7,500 employees.

Wednesday, October 26

Musk posts a video of himself entering Twitter headquarters carrying a kitchen sink, indicating that the deal is set to go through.

Thursday, October 27

In a message to advertisers, Musk says Twitter won’t become a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Thursday, October 27

Musk ousts CEO Parag Agrawal along with other top executives and takes control of Twitter, according two people familiar with the deal.

Thursday, October 27

Musk tweets “the bird is freed”

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