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Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for more than $40bn | Elon Musk

Elon Musk has launched an audacious bid to buy Twitter for $43.4bn (£33bn), saying he wants to release its “extraordinary potential” to boost free speech and democracy across the world.

The Tesla chief executive and world’s richest person revealed in a regulatory filing on Thursday that he had launched a hostile takeover of Twitter. He further confirmed the move in a public appearance at the TED conference in Vancouver later that day.

“Having a public platform that is massively trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” Musk said during an interview with Chris Anderson, Ted conferences curator and a former editor of Wired.

The news of the attempted takeover came just days after Musk revealed he had bought a 9.2% stake in the social media company and was subsequently offered a seat on the board, but then declined to take up the position.

In a letter to Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chair, Musk said the site was not thriving as a company or a tool for improving freedom of speech, and “needs to be transformed as a private company”.

Musk, who has more than 80 million followers on Twitter, said if his offer was not accepted he would “reconsider my position as a shareholder” as he did not have “confidence in [Twitter’s current] management”.

“This is not a threat,” he added. “It’s simply not a good investment without the changes that need to be made.”

In the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Thursday, Musk said he had offered to buy all Twitter’s shares for $54.20 each – a 54% premium to Twitter’s closing price on 28 January, the day before he started buying up his stake. However, after markets opened they rose only 1% in early trading.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in the letter to Taylor.

“However, since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.

“As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced.

“My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder. Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”

In a statement, Twitter confirmed it had received the “unsolicited” proposal and that the board would “carefully review” it to “determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all Twitter stockholders”.

Company employees, some of whom were panicked over Musk’s impact on its ability to moderate content, are expected to attend a Twitter all-hands meeting later on Thursday to discuss the news, Reuters reported.

The company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, warned employees earlier this week that “there will be distractions ahead” and to “tune out the noise and stay focused on the work”.

Civil rights advocates have also raised the alarm at Musk’s move to buy Twitter, noting the executive’s past critiques of social media firms suggest he would favor a hands-off approach to content moderation.

“Users of social-media platforms shouldn’t have to be subject to the whims of bombastic billionaires who are detached from reality and lack any true commitment to free expression, racial justice and democracy,” said Jessica J González, the co-chief executive of the non-profit social justice organization Free Press.

The Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the largest shareholders in Twitter, tweeted that he rejected Musk’s takeover bid. “I don’t believe that the proposed offer by Elon Musk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of Twitter given its growth prospects,” he wrote.

Musk later responded to the statement on Twitter, calling it “interesting” and asking for “the Kingdom’s views on journalistic freedom of speech”.

With an estimated $274bn fortune, Musk, who is also the chief executive of the electric carmaker Tesla and aerospace firm SpaceX, is one of very few people with enough ready money to fund a private purchase of Twitter. He has hired the investment bank Morgan Stanley to advise him on the takeover offer.

The $54.20 offer price includes the number 420, in what appears to be a reference to the number used as code for cannabis. When Musk offered to take his electric carmaker Tesla private in 2018 he offered to buy the shares he did not already own for $420 a share, saying he had “funding secured” for the deal.

In 2018 Musk sparked concern by smoking marijuana on a live web show while he was under investigation by the SEC for a tweet saying he planned to take Tesla private.

The SEC found against him over the tweet and Musk agreed to submit his public statements about the company’s finances to vetting by its legal counsel. He was later found to have violated this settlement and eventually agreed to step down as Tesla’s chair, appoint additional independent directors and agreed to pay $40m in penalties.

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Dan Lane, an analyst at Freetrade, said the SEC may not take kindly to Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter. “Sowing the seeds of championing ‘free speech’ is one thing. But let’s not forget, Elon’s view of simply voicing opinion has been seen as reckless by regulators in the past,” he said.

“The headlines might inject a bit of life into Twitter’s share price but it could mean SEC scrutiny bleeds over from Musk’s mere use of the platform to the platform itself. That’s not something the firm will want hanging over it.”

Musk is facing a separate lawsuit over his purchase of Twitter shares, from an investor who says the executive’s failure to disclose his stake in Twitter artificially deflated share prices, causing investors to lose out on millions of dollars.

Agencies contributed reporting

The headline and text of this article were amended on 14 April 2022 because an earlier version, based on calculations made by Reuters news agency, said the deal was worth $41.4bn. This has been changed to $43bn, based on company filings.



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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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