After agreeing to buy Twitter for $44 billion, Elon Musk has decided that the deal is off. But his attempt to break this agreement has roiled the tech company and set up a future riddled with legal headaches and uncertainty. The mood inside Twitter is grim, as the Washington Post reported Saturday:
After weeks of threats, employees have largely been bracing themselves for Musk to formally attempt to walk. “This has been the direction of travel for a while,” said one employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the situation within the company. “There’s been a general lack of belief that the deal would go through as signed.”
But its arrival only exasperated many workers, who say negotiations with Musk have brought intense scrutiny to Twitter. Any stock downturn would affect employee compensation, adding to the dismay of workers who have largely bristled at the prospect of the world’s richest man taking over their company. Since Musk announced his takeover, Twitter has instituted a hiring freeze and has replaced key executives.
In April, Musk offered to take the company private at $54.20 a share—valuing the company’s shares at more than a 50% premium—but in the days since, the stock (and morale inside the company) has plunged. He’s used his personal Twitter to amplify criticism of Twitter executives (not including the ones who have jumped ship). He also promised to restore Donald Trump’s account and raised a ruckus over the company’s handling of bot accounts.
The bots are angry at being counted 🤣
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2022
And yet, despite all the drama, Twitter still wants Musk to complete the takeover. The company is even threatening legal action to force his hand. “The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement,” Twitter chair Bret Taylor said Friday.
A Twitter employee who spoke to the Post acknowledged that “Musk is destroying Twitter,” but said it would still be better for shareholders to sell at Musk’s original price, even if it meant gaining a “hostile owner.”
So here is where Elon Musk has left Twitter: aghast at the prospect of his takeover and completely committed to making it happen. Quite the troll job.