Elon Musk targets Twitter board as company adopts 'poison pill' to stop buyout

Elon Musk
Former CEO Jack Dorsey also called out the board, branding it dysfunctional. Photo credit: Getty Images

Elon Musk took a swipe at the board of Twitter on Monday, local time, after the social media company adopted a "poison pill" to protect itself from the second-biggest shareholder's US$43 billion cash buyout offer.

"Board salary will be $0 if my bid succeeds, so that's ~$3M/year saved right there," Musk tweeted in response to a user's post criticising the board.

Musk, a self-described "free speech absolutist" who has been critical of Twitter's policies, did not elaborate on the tweet. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Continuing his tirade against the company, Musk had launched a poll on Thursday asking his 80 million followers if "taking Twitter private at $54.20 should be up to shareholders, not the board", to which a large majority responded "Yes".

Meanwhile, in a series of tweet replies, co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey called out Twitter's board on Saturday, saying "it's consistently been the dysfunction of the company."

Dorsey's statement was a reply to a tweet by venture capitalist Garry Tan that said: "The wrong partner on your board can literally make a billion dollars in value evaporate."

However, some have pointed out that Dorsey's tweets shouldn't necessarily be taken as an endorsement of Musk's attempts to buy the company.

Bobby Allyn, technology reporter for NPR, tweeted that a Twitter spokesperson had confirmed Dorsey was still on the board that unanimously voted for the poison pill option.

"One thing to keep in mind when trying to figure out what [Dorsey] thinks about a potential Elon Musk acquisition of Twitter: Jack's still on the board until next month, and he DID vote for the poison pill to derail the takeover attempt.

Shares of Twitter were up about four percent at US$46.85, still significantly below Musk's offer of US$54.20 per share. They have risen roughly 15 percent since Musk disclosed his stake on April 4.

Meanwhile, Twitter has also been informed by Thoma Bravo, a technology-focused private equity firm that had more than US$103 billion in assets under management as of the end of December, that it was exploring the possibility of putting together a bid.

Reuters / Newshub