Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk makes an offer of $54.20 a share in cash to ‘unlock the potential of social media site 

Elon Musk has launched an audacious bid to buy Twitter for more than $40bn, saying he wants to release its “extraordinary potential” to boost free speech and democracy across the world. 

The Tesla chief executive and the world’s richest person revealed in a regulatory filing on Thursday that he had launched a hostile takeover of Twitter.  

The news came just days after he bought a 9.2% stake in the social media company and was subsequently offered a seat on the board, but then refused 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 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 of Twitter’s shares for $54.20 each  

a total of $41.4bn (£31.5bn) based on 763.58m shares outstanding, according to data from the financial information provider Refinitiv. 

That share offer price would be a 54% premium to Twitter’s closing price on 28 January, the day before he started buying up his stake. 

Twitter shares jumped 11% in pre-market trading on Thursday to $50.90 on the news of the offer. However, after markets opened they only rose 2.5% in early trading to $47. 

“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,”

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