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The Street
The Street
Luc Olinga

Elon Musk May Own Twitter in Three Days

The suspense remains intact even if everything suggests that Elon Musk, the richest man in the world will become the owner of the social network Twitter (TWTR) before Halloween.

But it's possible there will be a final twist in this saga, which has lasted for 6 months. Delaware Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick has given the billionaire until October 28 to finalize the deal if he wants to avoid a trial that risks publicly exposing his communications with his friends and relatives.

Three days before the deadline, it's absolute calm, which is rare in Musk's universe. It seems that the crucial question of the financing of the deal has been settled.

The CEO of Tesla (TSLA), who has not stopped posting messages on the platform, remains silent on the negotiations. He gave no indication if everything was going well. He did not comment on the rumors that have been circulating for several days despite his tendency to correct or confirm reports about him.

Silence Is a Good Sign

The only time Musk indirectly spoke about the deal was to comment on a post by one of his fans about the White House's denial that the administration had initiated a national review of Musk.

"NEWS: The White House says there is currently no national security review of @elonmusk," tweeted a Musk fan and also an investor in Tesla on October 24. "The rumors are not true."

He accompanied the post with a video clip of a press briefing from the press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

"We heard those reportings. Those reportings are not true. We'll leave that there. The national security review that's not true," Jean-Pierre said.

"One man’s hedge is another man’s shrub," Musk simply commented on Oct. 25, after another fan said that "hedge funds love to make up s---t and get media/wire services to run it."

The silence of the serial entrepreneur may be due to the fact that he does not want to derail the discussions with Twitter. This silence is undoubtedly a good sign as it contrasts with the six months since he unveiled a 9.1% Twitter stake on April 4.

After an agreement with the board of directors of the microblogging website, Musk however continued to attack the leaders of the group. On April 14, he made a $44 billion bid at $54.20 per Twitter share. 

On April 25, the group finally agreed after trying to resist. The tensions didn't recede. Musk continued to attack Twitter and on July 8 he withdrew his offer accusing the social network of lying to him about the number of fake accounts on the platform, despite the fact that he had made it his mission to eradicate these fake accounts. 

On July 12, Twitter filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court asking it to compel Musk to honor his initial commitment. A 5-day express trial was to begin on October 17, but on October 4 Musk decided to put his offer back on the table. In exchange, he asked Twitter to withdraw all his complaints. Chancellor McCormick gave them a deadline to find an agreement.

Lay Off 75% of Twitter's Workforce

You can read everything about this unconventional battle here.

What is certain is that if the two sides announce an agreement within the deadline, Musk will take Twitter private. 

We will also have to expect big changes. The billionaire plans to cut 75% of the platform's workforce, or nearly 5,625 people, according to the Washington Post. Twitter currently employs 7,500.

Twitter employees, who oppose such a bloody austerity cure, are currently circulating a letter in which they see as a "transparent act of worker intimidation.”

"Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of Twitter workers will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation. A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation," a draft of the open letter read.

Musk never hid what he thought of Twitter employees.

"Twitter obv has a strong left wing bias," he posted last May.

He is particularly opposed to the platform's content management policy and has already indicated that he will reinstate the account of former President Donald Trump banned after the events of January 6, 2021.

Content Policy

"Like I said, my preference is to hew close to the laws of countries in which Twitter operates. If the citizens want something banned, then pass a law to do so, otherwise it should be allowed," he also said in May.

While Democrats fear that his takeover of Twitter will result in the resurgence of racist and hateful posts and misinformation, Musk has just restated what will be the principle in terms of content present on the social network.

"Twitter should be as broadly inclusive as possible, serving as a fair forum for lively, even if occasionally rancorous, debate between widely divergent beliefs," the billionaire said on Oct. 24.

Business-wise, Musk plans to use Twitter to create a Chinese-style Super App. 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 The merged company became PayPal.

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

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