Sat 1 Oct 2016 2:08AM

Buy Twitter

AS Armin Steuernagel Public Seen by 156

This is our top-level ticket for organizing the work necessary to buy Twitter.


Armin Steuernagel Sat 1 Oct 2016 2:10AM

I think we need to check two things:
1. How exactly, legally, could a buy out work? Do you know people that can help to think that through who have knowledge of US corporate and stock market laws?
2. How big is the support in the community...

What else?


Chad Whitacre Sat 1 Oct 2016 2:20AM

Maybe make a thread for each of the broad suggestions that Nathan proposed, and fan out from there?


Bonnie Foley-Wong Sun 2 Oct 2016 3:10PM

Not necessarily in this order:
- you need to get in the process, meaning be in contact with the ibank running the sale and get access to the investment memorandum or sales docs
- you need to have an idea of price. The buyout group must offer a price that is a premium over the public share price - needs analysis
- cash offers are preferred, but you can do mix of cash and shares
- figure out capital structure - equity and debt mix. You probably want low leverage
- figure out how you'll pull the capital together - single lead buyer then syndicate to community owners or try to assemble community buyers (latter takes a lot of time - unlikely to meet timeline in my opinion, but the former has challenges, where are you going to find someone who would lead something like this?)
- talk to Twitter board and executives. You want them on your side, to recommend the offer.
- talk to major Twitter shareholders who own signifant stakes. You want them on your side.
- you'll want an M&A banker advising you and representing the group

I've advised on a take-private transaction, I'm an ex-investment banker and now investor in the alternative and impact investing markets. I have long thought about organizing community buyouts and thought about it when my local ski resort - Whistler - changed ownership (recently sold for $1.4 billion). The scope of what you're thinking about is off the scales. But I if you want to discuss further, do contact me and let me know if you're serious about taking a run at this.

All the best,
@bonnieowong on Twitter


Bonnie Foley-Wong Sun 2 Oct 2016 3:31PM

I forgot to add that my comment above is just the takeover process. I haven't noted the marketing & communications process (offering doc to current shareholders, offering doc to community buyout investors), securities legislation that impacts this, analysis of Twitter's operations & financial position and who & how it would be operated post takeover.


Sam Toland Sun 2 Oct 2016 6:28PM

Think Bonnie's analysis is spot on - and she has crystalised some of the key tasks head. @bonniefoleywong - do you have any idea would the rough timetable of sale beginning and being completed (by a Google)?

But I think the key point to be made from a strategic perspective is this;

Our chances of successfully organising a community buy-out of Twitter with no existing infrastructure is extremely low. Though never say never :)

As such I think that the project to 'buy-out twitter' is better being the focus of a great project - eat a deathstar.

I would propose that we adopt a short-term plan to rally the community to establishing and beginning to fund a cooperative to buy-out Twitter, with the explicit intention that all money raised will be retained in the event that this does not succeed - and this is organisation and capital forms the basis for the next campaign to buy-out one of the deathstar platform (democratically chosen of course.)

I think building an basic virtual organisational structure - slack, loomio, trello and twitter, facebook and reddit - should be started immediately, and I am happy to assist being part of this. The goal being to advance the project as far as possible in the lead up to the Platform Coop conference in November. This is the place for it to be discussed in person, and the core team of the project being brought together.

I think once a basic plan has been formulated, we could start raising funds to build out the infrastructure - we aren't going to build out a successful campaign to buy Twitter with a volunteer workforce. :)

Up for trying this, can be followed and private messaged at @samtoland on Twitter. ;)


Bonnie Foley-Wong Sun 2 Oct 2016 8:14PM

More thoughts... Twitter is in play because a potential acquirer (or acquirers) approached them. So someone is well ahead in terms of information and timing.

Another tactic is to talk to someone who is already looking at buying and propose to team up.

Also break it down into chunks. Buy or team up, then syndicate to community

It can take a long time to reach agreement - if they do, but they might not. However, Twitter will be motivated to resolve this quickly, to reduce uncertainty around its future. Could be 6-9 months from actually making an offer to having it accepted by shareholders.

See Dell take-private for an idea how this works https://www.google.ca/amp/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSL2N0H81CR20130912?client=safari

No one has actually made an offer for Twitter yet.


Wolfgang Maehr Mon 3 Oct 2016 2:04AM

A number of other things we'll need as well, assuming that procedurally it is possible to get in a bid for Twitter:

  • Figure out a legal and organisation structure that enables Twitter to be the Commons
  • Outline a basic plan of how Twitter can be sustainable as a Commons (last I checked, I think they still make a loss)… subscription vs. donations, etc.
  • Define a "marketing" approach for getting the Twittersphere to back our attempt and spread the word

Before that we probably need to:

  1. Get in touch with people that can actually get us into a position to bid.
  2. Get an idea of how much needs to be offered.
  3. Start a crowdfunding campaign.

Chad Whitacre Mon 3 Oct 2016 1:21PM

I've rescoped this ticket to be our top-level ticket for doing the work here. Reticketing other things presently ...


Chad Whitacre Mon 3 Oct 2016 1:37PM

Reticketed onboarding @bonniefoleywong as https://www.loomio.org/d/VnSE63pT.


Chad Whitacre Mon 3 Oct 2016 1:44PM

Okay! I'm actually gonna let someone else do the reticketing. :-)

What we need is for someone to go through all of the posts on this thread so far and make new tickets for each individual action item. So, every one of @bonniefoleywong bullet points should have its own thread, for example. There are a number of other action items in the other posts here, so pick those out as well.

Who is up for helping us out here? :D

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