Elon Musk plans to take Twitter public a few years after buyout

Elon Musk, who has agreed to take Twitter Inc. private in a $44 billion deal, has told potential investors he could return the social-media company to public ownership after just a few years.

Elon Musk's Twitter account is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of the homepage of the Twitter website

Elon Musk’s Twitter account is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of the homepage of the Twitter website. (Chesnot/Getty Images/Getty Images)

mr. Musk said he plans to stage an initial public offering of Twitter in as little as three years of buying it, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal is expected to close later this year, subject to conditions including the approval of Twitter shareholders and regulators, the company has said.

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mr. Musk, the Tesla Inc. chief, has been speaking to investors such as private-equity firms, which could help lower the $21 billion he plans to kick in to help pay for the deal. The rest of the money is coming from loans. One firm considering participating is Apollo Global Management Inc., The Wall Street Journal has reported.

ticker Security last Change Change %
TWTR TWITTER INC. 48.84 -0.34 -0.68%
TSLA TESLA INC. 909.25 +6.31 +0.70%

Private-equity firms often take companies private with an eye toward fixing them up outside of the spotlight and then taking them public again within five years or so. mr. Musk’s signal that he plans to do something similar could help assure potential investors that he would work quickly to improve Twitter’s business operations and profitability.

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He has given few details about his exact plans for the company other than that he wants it to be less censorious in content moderation. At one point he said he doesn’t care whether he makes money on the deal. mr. Musk has a history of missing his timelines and targets at Tesla, the electric-car company.

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Even though mr. Musk is the world’s richest man, scraping together the funds to seal the deal was no mean feat. Once he managed to do so, Twitter’s expected resistance eased and the two sides quickly agreed to a deal at his original offer price of $54.20 a share.

write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com and Eliot Brown at eliot.brown@wsj.com

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