Elon Musk Jokes About Buying Twitter, But Could He Afford It?

By Tom Pritchard on at

It's no secret that Twitter doesn't really know what to do with itself, nor does it really earn any money. There could be one saving grace, however, in the form of Elon Musk. Last night everyone's favourite human-who-is-totally-not-an-alien-mastermind entertained the notion of purchasing the increasingly-controversial social network.

At first it sounds like a thrilling idea. Elon Musk has done a lot of great stuff with the companies he currently has, and who can forget about the fact he earned a fuck-load of money from his stake in PayPal. But rich as he is, could he afford to buy Twitter?

According to the information I found (updated yesterday), Twitter currently has 742,794,000 shares, and current market price is $25.05 apiece. That means buying every single share at current market value would cost $18,569,850,000 - or just under $18.6 billion. According to Forbes Elon Musk is worth $20.3 billion, though there is no way that those assets are all liquid and could be used to purchase an established social network.

Obviously the business world doesn't much care for outright ownership, and if you have more than 50 per cent of the available shares you're basically in control. If I've done my maths right 51 per cent of 742,794,000 is 378,824,940. At $25.05 a share, that means someone could gain a controlling interest in Twitter for $9,489,564,747 - just shy of $9.5 billion.

All of which is assuming Musk could buy all the shares in one go and current shareholders are willing to sell. As soon as word got out that he wanted Twitter, that price is likely to fly through the roof.

While the 51% figure is much more reasonable, it's still big investment, especially for a social network that hasn't proven itself to be lucrative from a monetisation perspective. Plus dropping half of your fortune on one company isn't likely to give Musk's financial advisers a good night's sleep.

So Twitter users, it seems unlikely that Elon Musk will swoop in and save everyone from the Nazis and Donald Trump, while simultaneously making Twitter billions of dollars. We can dream though.


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