Elon Musk is in the house – the Twitter house – as owner. The world’s richest man and an advocate of free speech wasted no time firing the company’s top officials, many of whom are at the center of censorship controversies.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal have been fired, both connected to decisions linked to censoring conservative and Christian voices on the platform.
Musk tweeted “The bird is freed” late Thursday night, and then “let the good times roll” a few hours later.
Musk could also face some opposition as he has become the target of left-wing organizations since his takeover plans were reported. Media reports revealed in May that “George Soros, Clinton and Obama staffers, and European governments” were behind the campaign that urged big corporations to boycott Twitter after Musk’s acquisition.
The purchase brings to an end an unusual corporate takeover fight that has been a roller coaster ride for nearly seven months. Musk and others in the industry had accused the company of employing bots to drive up traffic on the platform. The company admitted to the existence of the bots but refused to give a full accounting of the number, creating a roadblock to Musk’s takeover.
Before Musk arrived at the San Francisco-based headquarters, CNN obtained an email that was sent to all staff members.
“As you’ll soon see or hear, Elon is in the SF office this week meeting with folks, walking the halls, and continuing to dive in on the important work you all do. If you’re in SF and see him around, say hi! For everyone else, this is just the beginning of many meetings and conversations with Elon, and you’ll all hear directly from him on Friday.”
But the celebratory nature after a seven-month battle between the billionaire entrepreneur and the social media corporation might end prematurely as “he’ll still have plenty of hard work ahead,” says Jason Moser, senior analyst and lead advisor at The Motley Fool.
The buyout will be remembered as one of the most crucial deals in the history of mergers and acquisitions because of how much public attention it drew.
The entire ordeal began earlier this year when it was discovered that Musk purchased a sizable stake in the company to become the largest shareholder. He was invited to serve as a member of the board of directors, which he eventually declined. Instead, the billionaire CEO proposed to purchase the company for $44 billion, or $54.20 per share.
The price offered by Musk represented a 38 percent premium to the company’s closing stock price on April 1. This was the final trading session before Musk revealed his roughly 9 percent stake in the company. Some had thought the figure was too expensive, especially considering that he faced zero competition.
“My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” Musk said at the TED2022 Conference in Vancouver in April. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”
The social media outlet eventually agreed to the takeover bid, but Musk attempted to abandon the deal over his concerns regarding the prevalence of bots and fake accounts. He believed that the number of spam bots was greater than the 5 percent Twitter disclosed. Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk to force him to make good on his acquisition.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that Musk plans to lay off 75 percent of Twitter’s workforce. By doing more with less, it would indicate stronger cash flow and greater profitability, market analysts say. It might also be a remedy to its stagnating revenue growth troubles and bloated corporate cost structure.
“While there’s no question that Musk possesses a unique skill set and likely has some great ideas to improve the platform, it also seems that there are no quick fixes given the challenges the company and the service face today,” Moser stated to news outlets.
However, Bloomberg reported that Musk denied previous reports, saying that he does not intend to cut 75 percent of staff.
“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,” he wrote. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
He added that he didn’t buy Twitter “to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love.”
Media outlets also reported last week that the Biden administration was contemplating national security reviews for Musk’s ventures, including the Twitter acquisition. The White House, however, has denied those allegations.