As speculation continues to swirl around Elon Musk’s $43 billion offer to buy Twitter, more Wall Street analysts are downgrading shares of the social media company, remaining skeptical of the takeover bid and warning it could drag the stock lower.
Stifel analyst Mark Kelley downgraded Twitter stock to a sell rating, calling the recent moves from Musk a “full blown Elon circus” that will either end in him taking the social media company private or a major sell-off in shares if he cashes out.
The speculation about Musk’s takeover bid “offers significant downside risk” and could put the company in a difficult position if Musk sells off his roughly 9% stake that he acquired earlier this month, Kelley argues.
Twitter’s stock has recently gotten a boost, rising nearly 15% to around $45 per share since Elon Musk took a big stake in the company on April 4, but analysts at KeyBanc predict those gains are likely to reverse and downgraded the stock to a “hold” from a “buy” rating.
Musk’s takeover bid is likely to “go up in smoke,” according to KeyBanc analyst Justin Patterson, who “struggle[s] to see Twitter’s board accepting this offer given shares traded at around $73 last year.”
If the board rejects Musk’s offer, however, that risks losing the Tesla billionaire as a shareholder and opens Twitter up to “potentially receiving more criticism” of its product, Patterson argues.
Amid the recent downgrades on Twitter’s stock, few Wall Street analysts remain bullish about its prospects: Only 23% have a “buy” rating, while the vast majority maintain “hold” ratings, according to FactSet data.
Musk’s move to buy Twitter “sets a near-term ceiling on shares, detaches the company from fundamentals, and offers significant downside risk,” especially if the Tesla CEO “decides to abandon his offer or sell down his stake,” Stifel analyst Mark Kelley said in his recent note.
Shares of Twitter fell nearly 2% on Thursday following news that Musk had made a roughly $43 billion offer to buy the social media company and take it private. Stocks usually rise on news of a takeover offer, but Twitter declined and closed at around $45 per share, well below Musk’s all-cash offer of $54.20 per share. With Twitter’s board set to review Musk’s offer, the Tesla billionaire said later on Thursday that he has a “Plan B” if his first offer is rejected. Speaking at the TED conference in Vancouver, Musk insisted he has “sufficient assets” to buy the social media company, though he remains unsure if he will “actually be able to acquire it.”