Elon Musk is buying Twitter. Is it time to sell?

Trying to profit in the short term could backfire.

| More on:
group of young people standing against red wall using their smart phones

Image Source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) surprised Wall Street this week when it announced it had entered into an agreement to be acquired by billionaire Elon Musk, a move that would make the company private. With the acquisition price about 8% higher than where the stock is trading Tuesday morning, some investors may be tempted to try to profit from this delta. But investors should think twice before they play this game.

This deal comes with some serious risks and a good case can be made for selling Twitter stock today.

Important details you should know

Twitter announced Monday that Musk would buy the social media company for $54.20 per share in cash, valuing the company at about $44 billion. The move would take the company private, meaning shareholders would be paid cash at the time the deal is closed and Twitter shares would no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company seems excited about the deal. "The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon's proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing," said Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor in a press release. "The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter's stockholders."

As Twitter notes, the purchase price represents 38% upside over the stock's closing price on April 1 -- the day before Musk's 9% stake in the company was disclosed.

But don't forget to acknowledge the risks to this transaction. The biggest thing investors who currently own Twitter stock (or those considering buying it) should know is that there's never a guarantee that an acquisition will be completed, even when the company being acquired has already entered into a "definitive agreement" with the acquirer.

Twitter, of course, was sure to disclose the risks to this transaction, noting that it is "subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions."

What could happen if the deal falls through

There's significant risk to holding. If the deal does not work out, Twitter shares could plummet. After all, the stock's recent gain is almost entirely due to the likelihood of Musk buying the company at a price of $54.20 per share. Without this possible deal, and without the promise of Musk's leadership, the stock could spiral downward as investors contemplate what a failed deal could mean for the company's future.

It's worth noting that all we know about the deal's timing is that it is expected to close sometime this year. There are eight months left in the year. Would the risk of holding during that period really be worth just an 8% premium to today's price? Probably not.

It’s also worth noting that since this isn't a company buying Twitter, there may be a lower risk of any potential antitrust issues. Further, the financials behind the deal may be simpler -- and the parties easier to deal with -- than if this were a merger between two companies as opposed to a buyout buy a billionaire. Nevertheless, such a large deal from a single person is uncharted territory and could pose unforeseen risks. So investors should tread carefully when considering the probability of this deal closing.

All of this to say, a strong case can be made for selling Twitter stock today. And to those thinking of buying Twitter stock today, there’s good reason to stay on the sidelines. 

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and has recommended Twitter. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

More on International Stock News

Woman using Pintereset on an iPad.
International Stock News

Pinterest is down 78% — Is it time to buy?

A sudden leadership change has made this question all the more relevant.

Read more »

Man looking amazed holding $50 Australian notes, representing ASX dividends.
International Stock News

3 passive income secrets for dividend investors

You'll make a lot more money if you know how to find and keep dividend payers in your portfolio.

Read more »

woman preparing Moderna vaccine
International Stock News

3 things about Moderna that smart investors know

There's more to Moderna than its COVID-19 vaccines, which investors may not appreciate fully.

Read more »

catapult share price
International Stock News

Which under-the-radar cryptos could pop after this year’s big soccer tournament in Qatar?

Based on what we saw after football's Big Game in February, the upcoming Big Soccer Tournament in Qatar could be…

Read more »

Happy family watching Netflix together.
International Stock News

3 reasons Netflix should bounce back in July

Shares of the streaming video giant have plunged by 70% in 2022 so far. But everybody loves a good comeback…

Read more »

A woman in colourful outfit holds up a phone to take a selfie.
International Stock News

3 reasons why Apple stock is a buy

The famed tech company has what it takes to bounce back from 2022's market downturn. Here's why.

Read more »

a water tap is turned on and showering out banknotes into the open hand of a woman below it.
International Stock News

Companies with high free cash flow margins and high free cash flow yields massively outperform the market over time

What matters for long-term investing success.

Read more »

Woman on her laptop thinking to herself.
International Stock News

Is it time to load up on beaten-down growth stocks (like Tesla)?

Here's a look at some issues facing both the markets and one electric-vehicle maker in 2022.

Read more »