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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

Elon Musk takes over Twitter after reportedly completing acquisition, begins firing people

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.

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