Twitter, Inc. is now owned by Elon Musk.
The megabillionaire completed his acquisition of the social networking platform this evening after a failed attempt to back out of the deal that he struck several months ago, which prompted a lawsuit by Twitter to force him to honor the terms of the deal and buy out the shareholders. Musk recently signaled he was ready to capitulate and recommit to the deal. It is now said to have closed.
Musk updated his Twitter profile to declare himself the “Chief Twit” and proceeded to dismiss most of Twitter’s executive leadership: CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust Vijaya Gadde and General Counsel Sean Edgett. Agrawal had been expected to depart if and when Musk took over, but the megabillionaire wasn’t satisfied with merely ousting the CEO.
According to Bloomberg, in a visit to Twitter headquarters yesterday (which he published a video of himself walking into carrying a sink), Musk sought to reassure nervous employees that he did not plan to fire 75% of them, as a recent report indicated he had floated the idea of doing.
Twitter is currently a public company. Since Musk has bought out the shareholders and is taking the company private, Twitter will soon be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Its finances will become more opaque.
Musk has not said if he plans to appoint a CEO in the near future or run the company himself. He is already the chief executive officer of Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk was born into wealth in South Africa, made serious money with the sale of PayPal to eBay (an acquisition that, interestingly, he opposed), and has gotten even richer with the help of the government of the United States, which has awarded SpaceX lucrative contracts and subsidized the growth of carmaker Tesla — a company which Musk did not create but which he now controls.
The Musk/Twitter saga has had quite a few twists and turns. When Musk first sought to buy Twitter, the company tried to fend him off with a poison pill maneuver. But shortly thereafter, the board relented and agreed to sell Twitter to Musk for a tidy sum. Not long after, however, Musk tried to back out of the deal. Twitter then took Musk to court to force him to go through with the sale.
As the lawsuit progressed, Musk changed his mind about trying to back out of the deal. The Delaware Court of Chancery gave Musk time to negotiate with Twitter, and the negotiations have now apparently come to fruition.
Right wing cheerleaders for Musk, who has declared himself to be a Republican, have been gloating about the firing of Agrawal and other Twitter executives, completely ignoring the fact that Agrawal’s firing means that Agrawal and Twitter leadership beat Elon Musk. Musk was, after all, trying to get out of the deal, and he failed. Agrawal’s overriding recent goal as CEO was to force Musk to honor the agreement he signed. Agrawal and the board emerged victorious.
Agrawal will leave the company with a huge golden parachute (assuming Musk isn’t successful in nuking his exit package) and the board will dissolve.
Everyone who agreed to this deal is seemingly getting what they wanted, even Musk… who has moved past his regrets about overpaying and is now relishing owning one of the world’s most used social networking platforms.
Musk is paying a huge amount of money for Twitter: over $44 billion. The world community and Twitter users may not be well served by this takeover, but Twitter’s fired executives will likely be walking away with plenty of money.