Elon Musk buys Twitter for a whopping $44 billion


Jason Ryan, Staff

Shortly after becoming a majority shareholder with a 9.2 percent stake in the social media platform, Elon Musk has bought Twitter for $44 billion. Source: NPR

On Monday, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Inc. and founder of SpaceX, purchased social media platform Twitter for $44 billion. Musk, the outspoken CEO, and the richest man on Earth, according to Forbes, plans to take the social media company private, and has said that he wishes for Twitter to adhere more closely to the principles of free speech, which, in a statement, Musk called, “the bedrock of a functioning democracy.” 

This deal caps off a hasty episode in which the billionaire became one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, buying a 9.2 percent stake of the company. Afterwards, Musk was offered and turned down a seat on its board and decided to bid to buy the entire company all in less than a month.

Under the terms of the deal, shareholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter stock they own, matching Musk’s original offer and marking a 38 percent premium over the stock price the day before Musk revealed his stake in the company.

The offer became more concrete once Musk announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that he received commitments for $46.5 billion to help finance the potential deal. This included about $25.5 billion in debt financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding and other firms. He said he committed about $21 billion in equity financing.

Though Musk has indicated that his primary interest in Twitter has to do with what he views as the company’s censorship of free speech, Musk’s critics are concerned that the billionaire’s control over the platform could result in the silencing of their voices and others with whom he may disagree, given that he’s often blocked critics from his personal account.It is too premature to say what Musk is to do with Twitter, but it is obvious he clearly intends to make his presence felt and heard around the social media platform. Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to “unlock” Twitter’s “extraordinary potential.” We will be following this story in the coming week if there are any major updates.

Elon Musk is now Twitter’s largest shareholder


Jason Ryan, Staff

Elon Musk’s newly disclosed 9.2 percent stake in Twitter Inc. has made him the largest shareholder of the social media-company, topping out numerous financial institutions. To put into perspective, Musk’s shareholding is four times greater than that of Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as chief executive in November.

Musk’s purchase comes after a bout of criticism aimed at the social media company. The outspoken Tesla CEO polled people on Twitter last month about whether it adheres to free speech principles. He later said he himself was considering building a new social media platform. It is evident that was not the case. 

The news that Musk would be joining Twitter’s board of directors after becoming the platform’s largest shareholder sparked immediate speculation over how much the billionaire tech entrepreneur might shake up the social media company. Moreover, people speculated about how receptive the current board might be to having him on the team.

That being said, hours after his holding in the company was set public, Musk sought to launch a poll asking whether people want an edit button, something that has been long called for and perhaps something he personally wanted. In a tweet on Tuesday, Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal said, “through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board”, it seems Elon is already doing just that. 

Elon Musk

Elon Musk takes a 9.2 percent equity stake in the social-media company Twitter, exceeding large institutions and former CEO Jack Dorsey. Source: BBC News

On April 5, Twitter announced that it has been working on an edit button and that it will be rolled out soon to certain testers of the social media platform. In a later statement, Twitter executives announced that this feature and rollout are unrelated to Musk joining the board, although business critics and social media analysts are skeptical of this statement’s honesty.

Musk reported owning almost 73.5 million shares of Twitter as of March 14, according to a security filing Monday. Shares in the platform soared following Monday’s revelation that the Tesla founder had become the largest shareholder in the company. This means that stake has already grown in value and is now worth more than $3 billion.

According to a filing with the SEC, Musk’s term is set to expire in 2024. For his entire board term or 90 days after, Musk cannot be the beneficial owner of more than 14.9 percent of the company’s common stock outstanding.

It’s too soon to think about how much influence Musk will have as a director; however, social media expert Casey Newton points out that it is not the first time a big tech firm has gained a stance on Twitter. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer once bought a four percent share of the company “and essentially did nothing with it”.

Yes, it is too premature to say what Musk is do with this stake, but he recently called out Twitter for allegedly falling short of “free speech principles” and very recently asked users if they want an edit button feature. It is obvious Musk clearly intends to make his presence felt and heard around the social-media platform. It will be interesting to see what comes in the coming weeks. Will Musk push for more features within the platform? Or will he push for free speech and try to allow certain people back on twitter? Only time will tell.

Currency of the future or tulip bulb of the past: will crypto continue to boom or will it bust?


Michael D’Angelo, Staff

Gadgets 360

Pictured above is Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. In late March, Musk announced via Twitter that Tesla cars may be bought with bitcoin and any bitcoin Tesla receives as revenue will not be converted to fiat currency.

All the recent rage in the financial markets is related to cryptocurrency. It appears almost daily one can see a crypto-related news headline. Just two weeks ago a “meme” cryptocurrency known as dogecoin reached an all-time high, netting some traders thousands of dollars. In addition, just yesterday, Tesla announced they sold $272 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) during the first quarter. 

Cryptocurrency is defined as an unregulated digital currency that uses an online ledger to track ownership to buy and sell goods. An idea of unregulated digital currency drives the enthusiasm behind crypto and many investors view the currency as digital cash that cannot be traced. The most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Bitcoin utilizes complex blockchain technology to track ownership and manage trading. Some investors see Bitcoin as a store of value and an alternative to physical gold while others view it solely as currency to buy and sell goods. 

Bitcoin has grown tremendously since its inception in 2009 and has experienced widespread interest since last March when the pandemic and stay-at-home orders forced millions into lockdown. Much of Bitcoin’s rise is attributed to retail investors, but institutional investors are involved with the commodity. Big-name financial companies and fintech players like Square and MicroStrategy have used cash to purchase bitcoin. Even asset management fund Fidelity has jumped in and intends to release an ETF to track BTC benchmarks. Bitcoin’s market cap is currently valued at over $1 trillion. 

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has spoken countless times about cryptocurrency and his company’s offer to accept Bitcoin as payment for their cars. In February of 2021, Tesla bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin. They stated in SEC filings that the purpose of the purchase was to gain a better return on their cash, but they did warn investors of the price volatility involved with the purchase. According to Tesla’s Q1 earnings report, total revenue grew year-over-year by 74 percent. Tesla’s GAAP net income reached $438 million while non-GAAP net income was over $1 billion. Also, Tesla reported more deliveries of their car products. Musk made the Bitcoin purchase to emphasize the liquidity involved with the coin. 

As cryptocurrency becomes more widespread, regulators and government officials are left scratching their heads. They must decide how to regulate the crypto market. India had a ban on cryptocurrency which has been reversed in March of this year. Turkey has banned cryptocurrency. Back home in the United States, Bitcoin faces some regulation by organizations like the SEC, the Fed and the CFTC. The IRS taxes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as property. Janet Yellen, the current Treasury Secretary, believes Bitcoin is an “extremely inefficient” way to conduct monetary transactions. Overall, many regulators are going to have to find an agreement and decide how to regulate the coin. 

As Bitcoin grows in popularity and many people look to the future, we must be cautious of the recent rapid rise in its price and remember the history of financial booms and busts. Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market have the potential to fully take over our lives. Bitcoin can be as useful as the American dollar in the next few decades or can be remembered like the tulip bulb of 1637.

Non-fungible tokens: the newest asset class utilizing blockchain technology


Michael D’Angelo, Staff


Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, recently sold his first ever tweet on the platform as a Non-Fungible-Token (NFT) for more than $2.9 million. Many investors are questioning if the digital assets are worth the buy.

Many people are jumping on the non-fungible token wagon recently and headlines are appearing with  regards to art gallery NFTs, NBA highlight NFTs and original tweet NFTs. This NFT fever has even reached several billionaire’s with Mark Cuban planning to build a digital art gallery made up of non-fungible tokens and Elon Musk offering to sell his infamous tweets. With the recent NFT craze, and big names dropping into the NFT scene, many investors are confused at best and are left pondering what exactly is an NFT. 

A non-fungible token is a digital asset which includes PDFs, jpegs (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and videos which can be bought and sold like a typical investment vehicle. NFTs first came around in 2017, but their appeal has shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people are stuck at home and have turned their attention to alternative investments. 

NFTs are powered by blockchain technology, which is a digital ledger that records transactions and ownership across a network of computers. The NFT owner now has a token with claims to the original digital asset. Others may copy the image or see the video, but they do not own the original work. Essentially, it is the equivalent of holding a physical original. Think of the Mona Lisa and how millions of people have copied the print, but there is one original Mona Lisa. Many believe NFT value is derived simply by owning something others cannot own. They can be bought and sold on the internet at online marketplaces where you either bid on the item or buy at a set price. In addition, you can even use some of these marketplaces to create your own NFTs.

The craze is being fueled by high selling prices. A short video of a meme cat sold for more than $500,000, artist Beeple sold art for $69 million in a Christie’s auction sale, and Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, sold his first tweet for more than $2.9 million. A digital house even sold for $500,000. The NFT boom is also fueled by the recent rise in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Like NFTs, cryptocurrencies also utilize blockchain technology.

Non-fungible tokens have the potential to increase in value. Human nature lends itself to not miss out on things. We all have a fear of missing out and more headlines with million dollar selling prices will only lead to increasing value with the potential of a dangerous NFT bubble. 

Although NFTs may sound ludicrous in a sense, as I simply can just Google the image or YouTube search a sports highlight, NFTs have the potential to become an effective means of diversifying one’s art portfolio. People might want to buy the original digital version of the Mona Lisa if they can show it off to friends and family on social media, places our social lives are increasingly dependent on.