Elon Musk has completed the acquisition of Twitter Inc. worth $44 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, putting the world’s richest man at the helm of the struggling social network after six months of public and legal wrangling over the deal. .
Among Musk’s first moves: a change of leadership. Departures include Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal; Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, policy and trust; CFO Ned Segal, who joined Twitter in 2017; and Sean Edgett, who has been a general counsel at Twitter since 2012, according to people familiar with the matter. Edgett was escorted out of the building, said two of those who asked to remain anonymous because the information was not made public.
Shareholders will be paid $54.20 per share, and Twitter will now operate as a private company. The completion includes a convoluted story that began in January with the billionaire’s accumulation of a large stake in the company, his growing frustration with the way it worked, and an eventual merger deal. which he later spent months unraveling.
On October 4, Musk agreed to continue on his originally proposed terms, and a judge in the Delaware Chancery Court gave the two sides a chance to close the deal until October 28. That deadline. has been met and now Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, which also controls Twitter, a service he uses regularly but has come under public criticism and that he has promised to make significant changes. The company’s shares are expected to no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Musk’s ownership would have disrupted Twitter’s operations in an instant, in part because many of his ideas about how to change the company contrast with how it has operated for years. He said he wants to ensure “free speech” on social media, which could mean looser content moderation standards, and plans to reinstate some popular accounts that have been kicked off. Twitter action for rule violations, such as former US President Donald Trump. More broadly, Musk’s initiatives threaten to undo Twitter’s years of efforts to reduce bullying and abuse on the platform.
– Walter Isaacson (@WalterIsaacson) October 27, 2022
As the deadline approached, Musk began stamping his stamp on the company, posting a video of himself walking into headquarters and changing his profile description on the platform he now owns to ” Chief Twit.” He arranged meetings between Tesla engineers and product leadership at Twitter, and he was scheduled to meet with employees on Friday, people familiar with the matter said. Twitter engineers can no longer make changes to the code as of Thursday noon in San Francisco, part of an effort to ensure that nothing changes to the product before the deal closes, but this person said.
Twitter employees have had to prepare for layoffs since the transaction was announced in April, and Musk floated the idea of cost-cutting to banking partners when he initially raised funds. for the deal. Some potential investors have been told Musk plans to cut 75% of Twitter’s workforce, currently around 7,500, and expects to double revenue within three years, an acquaintance said. belonging to this matter said earlier this month.
While visiting Twitter headquarters on Wednesday, Musk told employees he had no plans to cut staff by 75% when he took over the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
In June, during a plenary meeting after his acquisition, Musk said that Twitter “needs to be healthy,” alluding to the cost of pruning. He also said only “special” employees could work from home and others had to go to the office. San Francisco-based Twitter was one of the first major companies to promise all employees that they could work from anywhere “forever.”
Twitter has done some of the work for him. The company announced a hiring halt in May, closing or downsizing some offices around the world, and canceling a 2023 company-wide retreat at Disneyland.
Last week, Twitter froze employee equity bonus accounts in anticipation of the deal closing. People familiar with the matter said it raised concerns among workers that his stock bonus wouldn’t be paid, and some employees were discussing and researching labor law to ensure they received it. get the correct form of severance.
It’s clear that Agrawal will probably not stay in power after Musk takes over. Text messages revealed in the lawsuit show that the two men had a controversial exchange early in the settlement process, and Musk later mocked Agrawal for vacationing in Hawaii for a while. number of initial negotiations. Efforts by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to bring them back together after the deal was announced ended badly.
Dorsey texted Musk on April 26. “At least obviously you can’t work together.”
Gadde, meanwhile, oversees Twitter’s content policy efforts, which Musk has criticized.
Twitter’s business, which relies heavily on ads placed in users’ feeds on its social network, has struggled in the time since Musk publicly joined the conversation in October. 4. In the second quarter, the company reported its first year of sales decline since the peak of the pandemic, and Twitter is likely to experience a similar decline in the third quarter, although the company The company has not announced its earnings report yet.
There is no ‘Hell Landscape’ here
Musk mentioned the possibility of building a subscription product for Twitter to supplement ad revenue, though it’s unclear what products or features might cost extra. Twitter already offers a subscription product, called Twitter Blue, that includes access to a tweet editing feature, but the company says it’s primarily aimed at proficient users. Musk was unimpressed. In April, he called Twitter Blue a “crazy piece of news” in a text message to a friend.
Elon Musk, who is on track to buy Twitter for $44 billion on Friday, said he made the purchase “to try to help humanity” https://t.co/L2Ddugboqm
– Bloomberg Technology (@technology) October 27, 2022
The prospect of less restrictive content moderation under Musk’s leadership has raised concerns that dialogue on social media will deteriorate, undermining the company’s and the “trust” group’s years of effort. and safe” to limit offensive or dangerous posts. On Thursday, Musk posted a note to advertisers looking to reassure them that he doesn’t want Twitter to become a “free hell for everyone.”
The past six months have been challenging for Twitter employees, who mostly follow the ups and downs of the rollercoaster deal through news headlines.
Many were unhappy with Musk’s involvement, with some questioning his qualifications to run a social media company. His support of a far-right political candidate in Texas, plus allegations of sexual harassment from a former employee who joined a SpaceX flight in May, have raised concerns with many employees. of Twitter. In a Q&A video with Musk in June, several employees mocked Musk on internal Slack channels. Others mocked or mocked him publicly on Twitter throughout the deal.
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