Elon Musk tried to back out of his $44 billion deal for Twitter over the summer as valuations for advertising-dependent technology platforms plunged, but now he seems to want others to join him in investing in the company at that same valuation.
Musk’s money manager contacted some investors about a follow-on offering at the original take-private deal price of $54.20 a share, according to a Semafor report late Friday. Musk originally agreed to that price in April, but other social-media companies have seen big declines since then — Meta Platforms Inc.’s stock
has shed a quarter of its value since the start of April, while Snap Inc.’s
has declined by three quarters over the same span to a market capitalization of less than $14 billion.
And those companies are not suffering from some of the issues Musk has created at Twitter. The broader advertising sector is under pressure due to the economy, but Twitter reportedly has seen an exodus of advertisers due to a stream of controversy on the platform under Musk’s ownership.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told MarketWatch that he now estimates Twitter is worth closer to $15 billion, based on his analysis of the value of Twitter and the advertising headwinds that it faces.
See more: Tesla’s ‘Twitter nightmare’ to continue, analyst says
“With Twitter bleeding red ink as advertisers flee with the Musk circus show, it’s not a good sign,” Ives said in an email Friday. “Twitter might need more capital at one point and the leverage is far from ideal in this macro.”
The report of a follow-on offering comes shortly after Musk disclosed about $3.6 billion more in sales of Tesla Inc.
stock earlier this week. That built on sales of about $4 billion from early November, which pushed the total Musk has sold since November of 2021 to more than $39 billion.
Musk paid some of his own money for Twitter, and his sales of Tesla stock after taking control of the social-media company are among the new issues of concern for the carmaker’s investors. Twitter also has a heavy debt burden.
For more: Tesla stock suffers worst week since 2020 as Elon Musk sells, large shareholder asks for new CEO
MarketWatch reached out to Twitter for comment on the follow-on offering and did not receive a response. The company is said to have largely disbanded its press team amid mass layoffs under Musk.
Could Musk and his team actually get people to invest nowadays at the $44 billion valuation? Semafor quoted one investor who appeared not to be ruling out the investment.
“One could argue he has created value or destroyed value at Twitter,” said Ross Gerber, an investor in Tesla who received the letter about the equity offering, according to Semafor’s report. “It’s hard to tell at this point.”
Gerber, who told Semafor he invested less than $1 million in Musk’s original deal for Twitter, said he wanted more information about the company’s plan as he considers his decision.