Hillicon Valley — Twitter’s counterattack against Musk

Patrick Pleul/Pool Photo via AP, File

Twitter responded to Elon Musk’s bid to buy the company by adopting a “poison pill” defense that will help prevent a hostile takeover. The tech mogul, the richest man in the world, said he set his sights on Twitter for more than the money.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

‘Poison pill’ aimed at Musk’s bid

Twitter adopted a so-called poison pill Friday that would help prevent it from undergoing a hostile acquisition after Elon Musk put in an offer to buy the social media company for $43 billion.  

The board unanimously adopted the limited duration shareholder rights plan. 

How does it work? Under the plan, if any person or group acquires 15 percent or more of Twitter’s stock without the board’s approval, other shareholders are allowed to purchase additional shares at a discount. 

The maneuver, developed in the 1980s, helps companies avoid being acquired by another entity or person. It makes it more expensive for the acquirer to buy up shares, and gives a company more time to evaluate offers.  

“The Rights Plan will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders,” Twitter said in a press release. 

Read more here

WHAT’S IN IT FOR MUSK?

Elon Musk is already the richest man in the world due to his leadership positions at and stakes in Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company.  

He is estimated to be worth roughly $260 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and there are no signs of immediate threats to that wealth. 

In that context, Musk’s bid for 100 percent of Twitter in an all-cash deal worth roughly $43 billion may seem like it has little to offer him. 

But many of Musk’s most headline-grabbing moves in the past have been motivated by non-financial considerations, and at a TED conference on Thursday he said the decision to make an offer was not driven by potential profits.  

Read more here.  

🌅 Breaking the morning show mold. Bursting the Beltway bubble. TUNE-IN TO RISING, now available as a podcast. 

RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE SERVICE BLOCKED 

The Russian-language service of The Moscow Times was blocked by the government over a story they wrote earlier this month regarding police officers who would not fight alongside Russian forces in its invasion of Ukraine, the news outlet reported on Friday

Following an order from the Prosecutor General’s Office on April 12, Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor blocked access to The Moscow Times’s Russian-language service, the news outlet noted, citing Roskomnadzor’s restrictions database. 

On April 4, The Moscow Times ran a story regarding riot police officers who went back to Russia and would not participate in the Russian invasion, which the Roskomnadzor database cites, in addition to the order, according to the news outlet. 

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NORTH KOREAN GROUPS STOLE MORE THAN $600M IN HACK: FBI

North Korean hackers were responsible for stealing about $620 million in cryptocurrency last month from the virtual game Axie Infinity, according to the FBI.

The FBI said in a Thursday release that the Lazarus Group, which is associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK), was responsible for the March 23 theft of cryptocurrency funds from Axie Infinity players.

Following confirmation of the hack on Thursday, the Treasury Department sanctioned the Lazarus Group, which is known by various other names including “APT-C-26,” “Appleworm,” “Red Dot” and “Hidden Cobra.”

The investigation is reportedly ongoing; the makers of Axie Infinity, Sky Mavis, have said they are working with law enforcement to recover the stolen funds.

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BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Is free speech at-risk on today’s college campuses? 

Lighter click: Mr. Hot Take 

Notable links from around the web

  • The Cyber-Escalation Fallacy (Foreign Affairs / Erica Lonergan)
  • Russia’s cyberattacks in Ukraine have been tame so far, but experts warn things may escalate and target the US (Insider / Connor Perrett)
  • The Wolf of Crypto (The New York Times / David Yaffe-Bellany) 

One more thing: Russian lawmaker, aides charged

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged a Russian lawmaker and two of his aides Thursday in an alleged propaganda conspiracy to advance Russian interests in the U.S. 

Deputy chairman of Russia’s Duma Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Babakov, Babakov’s chief-of-staff Aleksandr Nikolayevich Vorobev and Babakov aide Mikhail Alekseyevich Plisyuk are facing multiple charges for allegedly trying to have a U.S. citizen act as an illegal agent of Moscow. 

“Through these operations aimed at influencing the course of international affairs, the defendants worked to weaken U.S. partnerships with European allies, undermine Western sanctions and promote Russia’s illicit actions designed to destroy the sovereignty of Ukraine,” the department said in a press release

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.

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Author: Rebecca Klar