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Twitter Inc. TWTR 3.93% is re-examining Elon Musk’s $43 billion takeover offer after the billionaire lined up financing for the bid, in a sign the social-media company could be more receptive to a deal.
Twitter had been expected to rebuff the offer, which Mr. Musk made earlier this month without saying how he would pay for it. But after he disclosed last week that he now has $46.5 billion in financing, Twitter is taking a fresh look at the offer and is more likely than before to seek to negotiate, people familiar with the matter said. The situation is fast-moving and it is still far from guaranteed Twitter will do so.
Twitter is still working on an all-important estimate of its own value, which would need to come in close to Mr. Musk’s offer, and it could also insist on sweeteners such as Mr. Musk agreeing to cover breakup protections should the deal fall apart, some of the people said.
The two sides are meeting Sunday to discuss Mr. Musk’s proposal, the people said.
Twitter is expected to weigh in on the bid when it reports first-quarter earnings Thursday, if not sooner, the people said. Twitter’s response won’t necessarily be black-and-white, and could leave the door open for inviting other bidders or negotiating with Mr. Musk on terms other than price. Mr. Musk reiterated to Twitter’s chairman Bret Taylor in recent days that he won’t budge from his offer of $54.20-a-share, the people said.
The potential turnabout on Twitter’s part comes after Mr. Musk met privately Friday with several shareholders of the company to extol the virtues of his proposal while repeating that the board has a “yes-or-no” decision to make, according to people familiar with the matter. He also pledged to solve the free-speech issues he sees as plaguing the platform and the country more broadly, whether his bid succeeds or not, they said.
The Tesla Inc. TSLA -0.37% chief executive made his pitch to select shareholders in a series of video calls, with a focus on actively managed funds, the people said, in hopes that they could sway the company’s decision.
Mr. Musk said he sees no way Twitter management can get the stock to his offer price on its own, given the issues in the business and a persistent inability to correct them. It couldn’t be learned if he detailed specific steps he would take, though he has tweeted about wanting to reduce the platform’s reliance on advertising, as well as to make simpler changes such as allowing longer tweets.
Mr. Musk already has some shareholders rallying behind him following the meetings. Lauri Brunner, who manages Thrivent Asset Management LLC’s large-cap growth fund, sees Mr. Musk as a skilled operator. “He has an established track record at Tesla,” she said. “He is the catalyst to deliver strong operating performance at Twitter.” Minneapolis-based Thrivent has a roughly 0.4% stake in Twitter worth $160 million and is also a Tesla shareholder.
—Sarah E. Needleman contributed to this article.
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