Following six months of public and legal battling over the purchase, Elon Musk has reportedly completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter Inc., placing the world’s richest man in charge of the faltering social network.
One of Musk’s first steps was to replace the company’s top executives. According to those in the know, several key Twitter employees have left, including CEO Parag Agrawal, head of legal, policy, and trust Vijaya Gadde, CFO Ned Segal (who joined Twitter in 2017), and general counsel Sean Edgett (who has been with the company since 2012). Two people, who wanted not to be named because the details are private, reported that Edgett was physically removed from the building. In exchange for $54.20 per share, Twitter will become a private corporation.
In January, the billionaire quietly acquired a large position in the company, grew increasingly frustrated with the way it was being operated, and eventually entered into a merger pact that he spent months trying to unravel.
A judge in Delaware Chancery Court granted the parties until October 28 to finalize the contract after Musk agreed to move on his original suggested terms on October 4. Musk, who is CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, has met the deadline and is now also in charge of Twitter, a service he uses frequently but openly hates and promises to reform substantially.
It is anticipated that the company’s stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Due in large part to the fact that Musk’s plans for altering Twitter’s direction run counter to the company’s established practises, his ownership is sure to generate rapid upheaval.
WOW: Former Twitter CEO Parag has been arrested for child porn https://t.co/wjuksR8iAi
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) December 25, 2022
He aims to reinstate some high-profile accounts that were taken off Twitter for breaking rules, such as that of former U.S. President Donald Trump, and has indicated he wants to preserve “free speech” on the social network, which is likely to mean looser content moderation standards.
As a whole, Musk’s plans have the potential to destroy Twitter’s years-long work to curb bullying and harassment. Time was running out for Musk to stamp his personality on the company, so he posted a video of himself entering the headquarters and updated his profile description on the platform he now controlled to “Chief Twit.”
According to those in the know, he set up meetings between Tesla engineers and Twitter’s product leadership and planned to address the workforce on Friday. According to the persons, as of Thursday at noon in San Francisco, Twitter’s engineers were no longer allowed to make changes to the code in an effort to guarantee that no changes would be made to the product prior to the closure of the sale.
Staff at Twitter have been preparing for layoffs since the merger was revealed in April, and Musk discussed potential layoffs with banking partners while he was initially soliciting capital for the purchase. It was reported earlier this month by someone with knowledge of the situation that Musk has told possible investors that he aims to lay off 75% of Twitter’s current employees of roughly 7,500 and that he expects to treble revenue within three years.
Sources close to the situation said that on Wednesday, Musk visited Twitter’s headquarters and assured employees that he had no plans to lay off 75% of the workforce once he assumes control.
At an all-hands meeting in June, after finalizing his purchase agreement, Musk declared, “Twitter needs to get healthy,” a reference to reducing overhead. Along with this, he has stated that only “extraordinary” individuals will be allowed to work remotely, while the rest of the staff will be required to report to the office every day.
Twitter, headquartered in San Francisco, was one of the first major corporations to provide remote work to all workers “forever.” To an extent, Twitter has completed this task for him. In May, the corporation imposed a hiring freeze, cut operations at numerous locations, and scrapped its planned Disneyland trip for 2023.
In preparation for this week’s shutdown, Twitter froze employee equity awards accounts last week. Workers are worried that they won’t get paid for their stock awards because of this, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, and some are consulting with lawyers and conducting legal research to guarantee they receive the appropriate severance package.
For everyone retweeting that Parag Agrawal was arrested for Child porn, The Vancouver Times is a satire site. Please stop. pic.twitter.com/Utg6wGhr7P
— Ladybug🐞 Happiness is a Choice (@21polkmn) December 25, 2022
Agrawal’s likely ouster after Musk assumed power has been apparent for some time. Text conversations revealed during the lawsuit reveal that the two men exchanged harsh words early on in the transaction process, with Musk mocking Agrawal for being on vacation in Hawaii during some of the early negotiations.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s attempts to reconcile them following the announcement of the acquisition were unsuccessful. On April 26, Dorsey wrote Musk, “At least it became evident that you can’t work together.” A clearer picture after reading that. Musk has been critical of Gadde, who managed Twitter’s content standards.
Since Musk openly joined the conversation in April, Twitter’s business, which is based primarily on advertising displayed in users’ feeds on the social network, has faltered. Twitter probably saw a similar dip during the third quarter, while the firm hasn’t announced intentions to reveal earnings, given the company reported its first year-over-year sales decline since the height of the epidemic in the second quarter.
No ‘Hellscape’ Here
Musk has proposed creating a membership product for Twitter to augment ad revenue, however, it is unclear which products or features may cost extra. The tweet editing capability is available as part of Twitter Blue, a paid membership service that Twitter already offers but claims is aimed primarily at power users. Unfortunately, Musk isn’t convinced.
In April, he sent a pal a text message in which he described Twitter Blue as a “crazy piece of s—t.” Concerns have been raised that the quality of conversation on the social network will decline if Musk is given more leeway in his content moderation policies, undoing the work of the company and its “trust and safety” team over many years to reduce the prevalence of potentially harmful or offensive content.
Musk published an open letter to Twitter’s advertisers on Thursday, assuring them that he is not planning to turn the platform into a “free-for-all hellscape.” Twitter employees have had a hard six months as they have watched the roller coaster deal unfold in the press.
Some have even questioned Musk’s competence to lead a social media company, as his involvement has made many people very unhappy. Many Twitter employees are worried about him because he supported a far-right political candidate in Texas and because he was accused of s*xual harassment in May by a former SpaceX flight attendant.
In June, when Musk participated in a video Q&A, several colleagues made fun of him on internal Slack channels. During the negotiation process, he has been publicly mocked and criticised on Twitter.
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