Elon Musk Closes Twitter Deal For $44 Billion. Let That Sink In!
Elon Musk – the technocrat Billionaire best known for Tesla Motors and SpaceX – completed a $44 billion acquisition deal of Twitter on October 27, 2022, proclaiming himself Chief Twit of the social media platform and declaring “The Bird is Free” in his first tweet as the new owner.
Now that Twitter is officially under Musk’s control, it’s anyone’s guess what will come next. After all, he is the richest man in the world and known for thinking outside of the box.
Flipping The Bird
Musk’s purchase of Twitter is the surprising climax to an eventful story, marked with twists and turns that left many doubting he would actually follow through on the deal.
It began in April 2022, when he announced that he owned 9.2% of Twitter, making him Twitter’s largest shareholder at the time. He initially agreed to join Twitter’s board, but then withdrew his acceptance at the last minute. Instead, he offered to buy the company for $54.20 per share.
Later that month, the two companies reached an agreement over the course of a single weekend without Musk first verifying Twitter’s private data. A few weeks later, he had a change of heart.
Musk tweeted his complaints about the countless spam accounts following him, and his lawyers went so far as to accuse Twitter of not providing the requested information regarding the accounts in question. The feud led to Musk announcing on July 8th that he was ending the deal, but Twitter filed suit against Musk four days later to force him to finalize the acquisition.
By then, the stock market had plunged on concerns about a potential recession. Twitter argued that Musk was experiencing “buyer’s remorse” and wanted to back out of the deal because he realized he had paid too much. A majority of legal analysts agreed with Twitter that they would prevail in court.
Change of Heart
On October 4th, Musk reversed his decision once again, this time offering to complete the deal as he had originally said he would. He managed to do so just one day ahead of the October 28th deadline to avoid having to go to trial.
At the end of trading on October 27th, Twitter shares had risen by 0.3% to $53.86, just under the agreed acquisition price. On Friday, the stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after being traded publicly for nine years.
On Thursday morning, in a letter to Twitter advertisers, Musk stated that speculation concerning his purchase of Twitter was inaccurate.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk professed.
He defended his position on free speech and offered a positive take on advertising, ensuring brands he valued their business. “Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise. ”
Musk has been forthcoming in the changes he plans to make to Twitter including “defeating spam bots, making the algorithms that determine how content is presented to its users publicly available, and preventing the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division”.
He told potential investors of plans to reduce Twitter’s staff from 7,500 people down to just 2,000, and suggested that Twitter could become part of a larger app, possibly in the style of popular Chinese app WeChat.
A Billionaire’s Boy’s Club
While some raise concerns with a Billionaire having so much influence over news and opinion, Musk joins a long line of other billionaires that proceed him.
Recall that Jeff Bezos of Amazon purchased the Washington Post in 2013, Laurene Powell Jobs bought a majority stake in The Atlantic in 2017, and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014; along with family media legacies like Hearst, Murdoch, Rothermere, and Lebedevs. And the list goes on.
Let That Sink In
As he was concluding the deal, Musk walked into Twitter’s headquarters on Wednesday with a porcelain sink and a huge grin. He posted the image on Twitter with the caption “let that sink in.”
While an obvious troll from the future Chief Twit, the clever meme served as a warning to the executives who’s jobs were on the chopping block.
As the new owner of Twitter, Musk immediately fired Chief Executive Officer, Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer, Ned Segal, and Legal Affairs and Policy Chief, Vijaya Gadde, accusing them of misleading him and Twitter investors over the number of fake accounts on the social media platform. The executive termination packages were said to be lucrative, though sources report more litigation is forthcoming based on data misrepresentation.
Win Some Lose Some
Depending on your point of view, some people come out ahead while others take a loss as Elon Musk takes over Twitter.
The transition has not been easy for Musk; he paid Twitter a large sum of money and may have purchased fake accounts. Additionally, the company is wrestling with major internal struggles as well as problems from regulatory bodies. If you’re an employee of Twitter, job loss is probably in your future; and for people who support content moderation, sadly, the game is up.
The people who came out on top with this acquisition are the shareholders- they were paid a fair price for their stock. The other winners include the merger & acquisition lawyers and the content creators who had previously been banned or censored by former management. However, it is yet to be seen how these reactivations will play out in terms of policy changes.
Musk had this to say about changes to company policies, “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
What About Us?
While it’s far too early to tell what exactly will happen now that Elon Musk is in charge of Twitter, given his track record, it’s safe to say that he’ll be making big changes. Some people see Musk as a savior who will improve Twitter, while others are afraid he will use the platform to push his own propaganda.
So what will Elon Musk do with Twitter? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure- it’s going to be interesting to watch what happens.