Elon Musk Takes Over Twitter With a Bang

The billionaire is now the new owner of the microblogging website. He immediately fired the CEO, CFO and content boss.

It’s called a great start with a fall cleaning. 

Six months after making a $44 billion bid to acquire social network Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report, Elon Musk is poised to take control. 

The Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO closed the deal on Oct. 27, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

The billionaire seems to confirm the information shortly before midnight ET

“The bird is freed,” Musk poste at 11:49 PM ET, choosing a metaphor. The bird refers to the Twitter logo.

The richest man in the world thus becomes the owner of the platform which he considers as the town square of our time, a place where trendsetters and opinion makers meet.

Current Twitter shareholders will receive $54.20 per share. Musk will then take Twitter private, in other words he will be able to transform the company away from market pressures and market regulators.

Departure of the CEO

The Musk era begins with the symbolic departures of CEO Parag Agrawal, added the source, who requested anonymity. Agrawal replaced co-founder Jack Dorsey last November. He remained in his post for a year. Financial chief financial officer Ned Segal is also leaving, as well as Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and trust.

All three executives were fired by Musk, the source said.

Gadde was in the line of fire as she oversaw Twitter’s content policy. And it is her team who would have recommended, according to the press, the suspension of the account of former President Donald Trump after the events of January 6, 2021 on Capitol Hill.

Musk was particularly critical of the move and said he will reinstate Trump once he becomes the owner. Overall, the billionaire feels that all opinions are welcome as long as they don’t break the law. But he somewhat toned down his position on October 27.

“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” he wrote to advertisers. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”

The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, however, raises fears of a return of racist, discriminatory and bullying posts on the social network after many months of efforts to purge the platform of all this. 

Democrats also fear the return of disinformation.

Massive Layoffs?

Agrawal’s departure is not a surprise. Recent private text messages from the billionaire published as part of the litigation with Twitter have shown tensions between the two men. You can read them here.

“At least it became clear that you can’t work together. That was clarifying,” Dorsey texted Musk on April 26, the day after the announcement of the billionaire’s bid. The former CEO who is friends with Musk was trying to establish contact to allow Musk and Agrawal to work together.

“Yeah,” Musk responded.

Twitter employees fear severe job cuts after the Washington Post reported that Musk plans to cut 75% of jobs. Twitter currently employs 7,500 people, which would mean laying off 5,625 people.

But Musk, who arrived at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on October 26 with a sink in hand, met with employees and reportedly denied the information.

It should be noted, however, that Twitter had already frozen hiring in May, like a large number of tech groups which are very penalized by the slowdown in economic activity.

Super App?

The billionaire wants to use the social network to accelerate his project for a super app offering multiple services, modeled after China’s WeChat.

“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” the billionaire posted on Twitter on Oct. 4.

He has hinted that his vision for Twitter was comparable to what he envisioned for X, a financial-services company he co-founded in 1999 in Palo Alto, Calif. X merged in 2000 with software company Confinity.com. The merged company became PayPal.

His model, WeChat, mixes social media with payments, games, messaging, booking a flight ticket, ordering food, shopping etc.

Musk’s takeover of Twitter was a real battle marked by twists and turns. The Tesla CEO had made a $44 billion bid to acquire the social network on April 14 after taking a stake of more than 9%. 

Twitter had accepted on April 25, but there were several twists and turns that led Musk to withdraw his offer on July 8. Twitter then filed a complaint asking the Delaware Chancery Court to compel Musk to honor his initial commitment. 

A 5-day trial was supposed to start on October 17, but Musk surprised everyone by putting his offer back on the table on October 4. In exchange, he asked Twitter to withdraw his complaint.

Kathaleen McCormick, Chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court, had given the tech tycoon until Oct. 28 to finalize a deal with Twitter if he wants to avoid a trial. 

Here is a guide about this unconventional saga.

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