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Investing

Elon Musk is buying Twitter: Here's how you can buy Twitter stock before it goes private

Elon Musk struck a deal to buy Twitter on Monday. Here's what this means for shareholders.

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Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners.

A snarky tweet from 2017 is now a reality; Elon Musk will soon be the owner of Twitter.

This comes after weeks of back-and-forth as Musk purchased a large amount of the company's stock and then forced the board to take the 'poison pill' to avoid a hostile takeover. Musk has been very public about his discontent with Twitter's board of directors and is adamant about changing the platform. He's mentioned rolling back content moderation and implementing a largely-asked-for edit button on published tweets.

To make those changes, he intends to take the company private, which means if you actively hold shares of Twitter, you have a vested interest in the potential acquisition.

Select details how you can buy Twitter stock before it's taken private, and what happens to your shares when the deal is complete.

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How you can buy Twitter stock before it goes private

As of now, Twitter is still a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. This means that for roughly ~$40 (approx. stock price), you can own a small slice of the social media giant.

However, once Musk follows through on his promise to take the company private, the ability to buy more shares will be over. But even though the deal was struck today, you'll still be able to buy or sell Twitter stock until the deal is closed.

Dan Raju, CEO of Tradier, tells Select what Twitter shareholders should keep in mind:

  • If the deal is done today, it doesn't mean you can't continue to buy and sell the stock. However, he strongly believes the share price will likely become "volatile" between the time of announcing the deal to officially delisting the stock.
  • Raju said it would be "weeks rather than days" before it's delisted on the NYSE, and it's "hard to guess" how long the regulatory process will take.
  • His analysis says the acquisition is "good for the stock" and traders could look into call options as a way to bet on the positive reaction if the deal is struck.

So if you desire to have an ownership stake in the future of Twitter before it's taken private, you'll need to open a brokerage account where you can buy and hold your stocks. It's free to open an account with brokerages like Fidelity, Robinhood or Vanguard, which let you buy and sell stock for free.

From there, simply connect a checking account to fund the purchase. Lastly, search the ticker symbol for Twitter, which is "TWTR", and click the buy button. You can also indirectly own shares of Twitter through ETFs and index funds, which are portfolios of companies compressed into easy-to-buy shares. For example, the widely-known S&P 500 index is made up of just over 500 companies, and Twitter is one of them.

However, be aware that purchasing individual stocks, including Twitter, can be risky — buying Twitter stock above $54.20 could result in a loss.

What happens to your Twitter stock when it becomes private

Whether you hold one share or thousands of shares, you will be given a 'tender offer'. This means that the new owner is buying your shares from you, typically at a premium.

For example, let's say you purchased 50 shares at $33.84 on Jan. 27, 2022, for a total price of $1,692. Musk is paying $54.20 per share, meaning you'll be given an offer of $2,710 for the 50 shares you own.

Lauren Anastasio, Director of Financial Advice and CFP at Stash, told Select what shareholders' options are if the deal goes through:

"They can either take the tender offer...or if the privatization goes through, they'll still be cashed out for the value of the shares at that time. So either way, they're not going to be left with nothing. It's not like their shares are not valuable anymore, they will just be purchased back as a part of the privatization."

And keep in mind that if you receive cash in exchange for shares, this is considered a taxable event.

"Depending on how long you've owned Twitter stock, you would be subject to short-term capital gains or long-term capital gains when the tender happens. You should consult with a tax specialist before making a decision just as you would before making any other trades or financial decisions in regards to the taxation of your taxable portfolio," according to Anastasio.

Anastasio ensured that everything will be communicated to shareholders through their respective brokerage, and to be on the lookout for communication from them on the next steps.

Bottom line

Elon Musk being the sole owner of Twitter has been talked about for weeks, and it's now official. While the future of the social platform is unknown, shareholders are closely watching headlines to see what happens.

So if you currently own shares, or plan to buy some before the acquisition is finalized, it's important to have a financial plan in place. Because if the company is taken private, you will be paid out for those equities, and you should plan strategically on what to do with those returns — including filling your emergency fund, paying off debt or investing in your retirement.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.