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Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter could be thwarted by Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal

Musk responded to Talal's rejection by asking how much of Twitter is owned by the kingdom.

[Source photo: Venkat Reddy/Fast Company Middle East]

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has a massive Twitter following of 81 million, is known for his controversial tweets. From SpaceX announcements to a cryptic tweet about Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, almost anything he posts gets tens of thousands of retweets. Sometimes it backfires, like the time when a tweet by Musk in 2020 wiped off $14 billion from his firm Tesla’s value.

In a similar setback, Musk’s bid to take over Twitter has been thwarted by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud. The investor rejected Musk’s offer as a majority shareholder in the social media platform. Talal said that the price proposed by the US-based entrepreneur isn’t close to Twitter’s intrinsic value if its growth potential is considered.

The saga started in January 2022 when Musk started stocking up on shares of Twitter and acquired a 5% stake by March. He didn’t file disclosure on time and only submitted the incorrect form after a delay when his stake reached 9.1%. This prompted Twitter to offer Musk a seat on its board in April, which he declined.

Musk turned down the seat after learning that Twitter’s board members can’t make product decisions or tweet antagonistic suggestions. In his bid to make changes in the way content on Twitter is regulated, Musk made a $43 billion offer to take control of the social network. But his critics are concerned that Musk’s vision might allow trolls to get away with abusive tweets and drive away advertisers.

Talal is the chairperson of Kingdom Holding Company, which first purchased shares of Twitter in 2011, before its IPO. He also has high stakes in Uber, Lyft, and Citigroup. Responding to Talal’s rejection, Musk tweeted, asking how much of Twitter is owned by the kingdom.

At this time, it’s also notable that back in 2018, Musk himself had tweeted about securing funds from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to take Tesla private. A claim was later deemed misleading by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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