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Twitter seeks to defend itself against Musk buyout bid by adopting ‘Poison Pill’

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Twitter moved Friday to defend itself against Elon Musk’s $43 billion hostile takeover bid, announcing a “poison pill” plan that would make it harder for the billionaire to get a controlling stake.

Musk’s proposed buyout faces several hazards, including possible rejection and the challenge of assembling the money, but could have significant impacts on the key social media service if consummated.

Twitter said its board unanimously adopted a so-called shareholder rights plan, also known as a “poison pill,” which kicks in if an investor buys more than 15 percent in shares without the directors’ agreement. Musk holds nine percent.

The maneuver makes it harder for a buyer to build too big of a stake without board approval, by triggering an option that allows other investors to buy more of a company’s shares at a discount.

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Twitter said the plan, which experts consider a potent tool against corporate raiders, does not prevent discussing or even agreeing to an acquisition.

Musk sent shockwaves through the tech world on Thursday with an unsolicited bid to buy the company, stating the promotion of freedom of speech on Twitter as a key motive for what he called his “best and final offer.”

The world’s richest person offered $54.20 a share, which values the social media firm at some $43 billion, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He has not directly addressed the poison pill, but tweeted after his bid was announced that the board would face “titanic” legal liability if it goes against the interests of shareholders in rejecting his offer.

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Analyst Dan Ives predicted that the board’s move would “not be viewed positively by shareholders” given both the potential dilution of stock and the signal it sends of hostility towards being bought. He foresaw a “likely” court challenge.

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Musk has already acknowledged he was “not sure” he would succeed and refused to elaborate on a “plan B,” though in the filing he noted a rejection would make him consider selling his existing shares.

He also said he “could technically afford” the buyout while offering no information on financing, though he would likely need to borrow money or part with some of his mountain of Tesla or SpaceX shares.

Some investors had already spoken against the proposal, including businessman and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Morningstar Research analysts echoed that perspective, saying, “While the board will take the Tesla CEO’s offer into consideration, we believe the probability of Twitter accepting it is likely below 50 percent.”

Twitter stock closed down nearly two percent Thursday.

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Musk’s move throws another curve into the roller-coaster ride of his volatile relationship with the global social media service, and raises many questions about what comes next.

He was offered a seat on the board but turned it down over the weekend.

Musk’s shock offer to buy Twitter drew worries — and some cheers — over putting the platform in the hands of a mercurial billionaire who advocates generally for few limits on what users can post.

He provided some detail Thursday on his vision, saying he’d like to lift the veil on the algorithm that runs on the platform, even allowing people to look through it and suggest changes.

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He also reiterated his support for a more hands-off approach to policing the platform, a thorny matter particularly in high-profile cases such as Donald Trump who was banned after the assault on the US Capitol last year.

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Critics argued that free speech absolutism on social media can be very messy in the real world.

“I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter,” tweeted Max Boot, a Washington Post columnist, on Thursday.

“He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less,” Boot added.

Still Musk was rallying support on Twitter, where he has over 81 million followers, for the fight ahead.

“Thanks for the support!” he tweeted in reply to a poll that overwhelming backed his bid.

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Five die, 10 injured in Lagos-Ibadan multiple road crashes

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A fatal accident involving two trucks and a bus on Wednesday, around NASFAT along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway killed five people while 10 others were seriously injured.

The accident said to have occurred around 9:56 am involved a Daf truck with number plate KUT561ZZ, a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number GGE84YF, and another truck without a number plate.

A total of 15 people were involved in the accident comprising 11 male and four female adults.

The Spokesperson for Ogun State Sector Command of Federal Road Safety Corps, Florence Okpe, disclosed this in a statement sent to journalists on Wednesday.

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Okpe attributed the fatal crash to reckless driving on the part of one of the trucks’ drivers who made a sudden U-turn without trafficating, thereby causing the truck behind it and another bus to lose control and rammed into each other.

The injured victims were said to have been taken to Famobi Hospital, Mowe, in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of the state while the corpses were deposited at Idera Hospital morgue, Sagamu.

The statement partly reads “The suspected cause of the crash was dangerous driving on the part of one of the trucks which made a sudden U-turn without any indication to alert the truck behind which led to loss of control on both the truck and the bus.

“The injured victims were taken to Famobi Hospital Mowe while the corpses were deposited at Idera Hospital morgue Sagamu.

“It was a combined rescue operation of FRSC, Nigeria Police Force and other sister agencies were all on the ground managing the situation”

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Meanwhile, Ogun Sector Commander of FRSC, Anthony Uga has cautioned motorists on speed and reckless driving warning that any driver involved in a crash that claims lives will be prosecuted forthwith to serve as a deterrent to recalcitrant drivers

Uga said he is pained over the incessant crashes, especially along this corridor axis, and further urged motorists to shun speed and drive defensively for safety purposes.

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Reps threaten CBN gov’s arrest over REMITA leakages

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The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, on Tuesday, summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, to unfailingly appear before it on March 5, 2024 over issues relating to alleged leakages with the e-payment solution platform, REMITA.

The Reps fumed that Cardoso’s failure to appear before the committee during previous sittings “has greatly stalled this committee’s investigative process on revenue leakages through the REMITA platform.”

“The Public Accounts Committee has the power to summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence, produce any document in his possession and under his control.

“Failure to comply with this civil invitation may leave the committee no choice but to issue a warrant of arrest against you in line with Legislative Houses (Powers & Privileges Act 2017) (Sections 2 & 3) and the 1999 CFRN (as amended) in line with House Procedures.

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“Consequently, the committee resolved to grant you one last opportunity to appear,” the committee stated in a letter signed by its chairman Bamidele Salam.

The letter sighted by our correspondent on Tuesday was titled, “RE: Investigation of revenue leakages through REMITA platform and non-compliance substantially with the standard operating procedure and other allied service level agreements 2023.”

It read; “You are strongly advised to take good advantage of this invitation and appear before the committee unfailingly on Tuesday 5th March 2024 at 10 am in the Meeting Room 446, House of Representatives’ New Building to respond to the issues that will arise during the hearing session.

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“You are also advised to come along with all relevant officers who are familiar with the issues at stake and may assist you provide answers to any question that could arise during the session.

“Please refer to your representation before the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, by an Assistant Director without a written letter to that effect. Be advised that the committee does not allow representation. All chief accounting officers are to appear in person to defend their offices.”

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“The committee frowns on this and wishes to remind you of the relevant constitutional provisions Sections 62 and 89(1) (a, b, c & d) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

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NDLEA intercepts ‘single largest’ heroin consignment at Lagos airport

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has intercepted what it described as the single largest heroin consignment at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.

The agency also said it had arrested members of an organised criminal organisation that specialises in trafficking heroin across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe, and America in an operation leading to the seizure of the consignment, which weighed 51.90 kilograms on February 12, 2024.

Meanwhile, checks by Press revealed that the seized drugs have an estimated worth of £5,190,000 (N10,365,987,000 at the N1,997.3/£ exchange rate) in street value of £100,000 per kilogram.

The Chairman of the NDLEA, Buba Marwa (retd.), while briefing journalists on Tuesday in Lagos, said the operation was the single largest seizure of heroin at the airport.

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The NDLEA boss said the consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines and set to be delivered at a warehouse in the Ipaja area.

He noted that there was a parallel between the seizure and the September 18, 2022, seizure of 2,139.5 kg of cocaine in a warehouse in the Ikorodu area of the state, which he described as the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of NDLEA.

He said, “NDLEA operatives of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command intercepted a suspicious package at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s cargo terminal.

“The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines. Each carton was stocked with three blocks of high-grade heroin. In total, we recovered 45 blocks of the illicit substance with a total weight of 49.70kg.”

Marwa added after the discovery, the agency arrested a freight agent, Olowolagba Wasiu Babatunde, hired for clearing services by one Mr. Kola resident in South Africa.

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While chronicling the sequence of the operation, the NDLEA boss said, “Next, we conducted a follow-up operation at the company’s warehouse in the Shogunle area of Oshodi, Lagos, and arrested the warehouse manager, whose name is Ajayi Lmole Moses.

“Thereafter, we set up an ambush for the expected receiver of the consignment, who was duly arrested when he showed up for collection. This receiver, whose name is Adinnu Felix Chinedu, confessed during interrogation that he is the main distributor for a drug syndicate whose membership is spread across Nigeria.

“He admitted that he usually conveyed the consignment to a dedicated warehouse located in Ayobo. That place served as a workshop where he would dismantle the consignment and remove the drugs from the machines. Thereafter, he would wait for a list of various recipients to be forwarded to him from South Africa by the head of the criminal group.

“Our operatives did due diligence by conducting a thorough search of the warehouse, which led to the recovery of 56 similar cartons of the cutting machines that were used previously as modes of concealment to ferry heroin into Nigeria. At this point, it was clear that we were dealing with a syndicate that operates in other countries. By the time we were done exploring the various leads we had, we had unraveled an organized criminal network that operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria, and parts of Europe and America.

He said the syndicate had a wide network in Nigeria because the consignments seized were marked with several codenames, showing that they belonged to different members of the organised criminal group.

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He explained that the agency, during a follow-up operation, uncovered from the suspect a long list of receivers of illicit drugs and was able to identify the kingpin of the syndicate, Reginald Peter Chidiebere, who owned the Golden Platinum Hotel and Suite, located at 16 Reginald Peter Chidiebere Street, Hope Estate, Ago Palace.

The NDLEA boss said several days of surveillance on the hotel culminated in a raid operation on Monday, February 19, in which another drug mule, Igboanugo Thankgod, was found in possession of two parcels of 2.2 kg of heroin with codes similar to the ones found on the seized drug shipment, bringing the total seizure to 51.90 kilograms.

“He readily confessed that he was invited by Mr. Reginald Peter Chidiebere to the hotel on Sunday, February 18, 2024. He was lodged in one of the rooms and was later summoned by the receptionist to meet a guest, from whom Reginald Peter Chidiebere had informed him over the phone to receive a package. This sequence of action was confirmed by a review of the CCTV at the hotel,” he stated.

He said the pre-emptive actions taken against members of the syndicate include freezing a total of 107 bank accounts associated with 14 members of the cartel as well as N119,582,928.31 found in some of the already traced bank accounts.

He added that the hotel and a mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Nigeria, Reginald Chidiebere, and another mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Mozambique, Festus Ibewuike, located in the Ago Palace area, had already been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

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He noted the measure yielded further fruit on Thursday, February 22, when a female member of the syndicate and wife of Festus Ibewuike, Mrs Confidence Ibewuike, who is one of those to collect part of the consignment from Adinnu Felix Chinedu, was arrested at the Ago Palace area on Thursday.

He said a search was promptly conducted in their residence located in the Ago Palace area of Festac Town, where a Toyota Venza car was recovered, as well as several documents, including bank and property documents belonging to Festus lbewuike, adding that their mansion in the Ago Palace area had also been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

“NDLEA has shared comprehensive intelligence with our South African counterparts for necessary action regarding the other members of the group living in that country,” Marwa stressed.

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