Should Twitter take such a measure, Mr. Musk could take his offer directly to shareholders with a so-called tender offer. If they like Mr. Musk’s offer, they can sell their shares to the billionaire, giving him control of the company.
The board is also considering soliciting offers from other companies that may want to take over Twitter, said one of those familiar with the plans, another common move among takeover candidates. It was not clear whether Twitter had approached anyone yet.
A deal could require Mr Musk to get $15 billion to $20 billion in debt financing, said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Although Mr. Musk is the richest man in the world, much of his value is tied up in Tesla stock.
Twitter could question Mr Musk’s ability to fund the deal or claim it undervalues the company. The offer represents a 54 percent premium to the stock price the day before he began investing in the company in late January. But Twitter’s shares traded higher than Mr. Musk’s bid for much of last year.
When Mr. Musk announced his stake in Twitter, several board members welcomed him, including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Twitter offered Mr. Musk a seat in the boardroom, a move executives hoped would stop him from publicly criticizing the company. But the welcome quickly soured. Mr. Musk turned down the board seat.
On Wednesday, Mr. Musk was ready to announce his next move. In a message to Bret Taylor, the chairman of Twitter’s board of directors, Mr. Musk said, “I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the world, and I believe that free speech is a social necessity for a functioning democracy,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that was later made public. “Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”
Mr. Taylor, a co-chief executive of Salesforce, has served on Twitter’s board since 2016, when Salesforce considered buying Twitter. Mr. Taylor joined Salesforce a year later, after it acquired his own company Quip.