Loomio
October 1st, 2016 02:08

Buy Twitter

AS
Armin Steuernagel Public Seen by 516

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

AS

Armin Steuernagel October 1st, 2016 02:10

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

Chad Whitacre October 1st, 2016 02:20

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

Bonnie Foley-Wong

Bonnie Foley-Wong October 2nd, 2016 15:10

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,
Bonnie
@bonnieowong on Twitter

Bonnie Foley-Wong

Bonnie Foley-Wong October 2nd, 2016 15:31

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

Sam Toland October 2nd, 2016 18:28

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

Bonnie Foley-Wong October 2nd, 2016 20:14

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

Wolfgang Maehr October 3rd, 2016 02:04

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

Chad Whitacre October 3rd, 2016 13:21

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

Chad Whitacre

Chad Whitacre October 3rd, 2016 13:37

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

Chad Whitacre

Chad Whitacre October 3rd, 2016 13:44

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

Sam Toland

Sam Toland October 3rd, 2016 14:41

Loomio is really a decision making (and deliberative) app - it is not made for project management.

I think a Slack, and then a Trello project are really the next steps here. Are the current admins up for those tasks, or would you like to ask someone here to action them?

Chad Whitacre

Chad Whitacre October 3rd, 2016 18:31

@samtoland I think we should move discussion of setting up other channels to a different thread, to avoid cluttering up this one. Eh?

Chad Whitacre

Chad Whitacre October 3rd, 2016 19:09

Kaiser Mikato

Kaiser Mikato January 17th, 2017 23:34

Very interesting thread. However I find it important to stop and think about what the real intentions are. Do we want twitter to be an open community, open source and free for everyone? When that platform already exists and in my opinion has more functionality when the official twitter: gnusocial
Do we want to but twitter and turn it into something like gnusocial in order to make it easier for everyone to make the switch? In some way to rescue the followers of already famous people? Is it because of the fanbase that we want twitter and not gnusocial?
Or do we simply want to buy twitter so we can replace it all together with an opensource platform?