After months of legal drama, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, on Thursday night, closed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, as he fires top Twitter execs including CEO.
Musk, the richest person in the world, according to Forbes, ousted a handful of top executives, CEO Parag Agrawal included, in the process.
Musk reportedly fired CFO Ned Segal, Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust Vijaya Gadde and General Counsel Sean Edgett right out of the gate. Though it’s still an aggressive and abrupt day-one move, Agrawal was inevitable given his well-documented clashes and a failed virtual meeting with Musk. It’s also no surprise that Gadde was among the first to go.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports that the road to taking Twitter private has been a rocky one. Musk first began flirting with the idea of owning Twitter in early April, when he bought 9.2% of the company for $3 billion.
Twitter sued Musk over the summer to force the Tesla and SpaceX CEO to follow through with the deal. Musk countersued Twitter in response, making unfounded claims that the company mislead him about the number of automated accounts on the platform — a number that is critical for advertisers and brands who want human eyeballs on their paid ads.
As litigation between Musk and Twitter ramped up, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick made it clear that she wasn’t here to humor Musk’s erratic shenanigans. In early October when Musk announced, again, that he would buy Twitter if he could kill the upcoming trial, Judge McCormick only agreed if Musk could close the deal by Friday, October 28. If he had missed the deadline, we’d all be looking at a fresh Musk/Twitter trial date set for November.
On this, the first day that Elon Musk officially owns Twitter, it’s also not clear what direction Musk plans to take the platform. The chaotic and often contradictory billionaire has in the past promised to restore former President Trump’s account, rid the platform of all automated bots, which personally bother him as one of the most followed users on the platform (good luck), and touted Twitter’s potential as a neutral ground square and a counterbalance to his complaints about traditional media outlets, which at times do not report on his goings-on favorably.
In reality, Twitter is a struggling yet incredibly prominent platform, one where heads of state and hardcore porn regularly intermix and one that, after a long phase of stagnation, had finally begun to introduce improvements to its products and policies.
It remains to be seen if Musk will turn back the clock on those experiments or see some through while claiming to reinvent the wheel (monetizing creators, certainly an original idea!), but it’s difficult to imagine how he can accomplish any of his goals while potentially gutting the company’s workforce.
Musk’s denial of reports that he plans to cut 75% of Twitter’s staff is far from reassuring considering that laying off a third or half of employees would still cost thousands of workers their jobs.