Elon Musk likely to reaffirm desire to own Twitter on Thursday

Elon Musk likely to reaffirm desire to own Twitter on Thursday

According to a person familiar with the matter, Elon Musk is expected to confirm his desire to own Twitter Inc. TWTR 2.07% when he speaks to the social media company’s staff on Thursday.

The chief executive of billionaire Tesla Inc. is scheduled to take about an hour to answer pre-submitted employee questions at a virtual Twitter meeting Thursday morning ET, the person said. In addition to restating his interest in owning the company and assessing its importance in the world, Mr. Musk is likely to clarify recent comments on remote work and address aspects of his strategy for Twitter, including the role of advertising and subscriptions.

Twitter shares are up about 5% in after-hours trading following the Wall Street Journal’s report on what is expected to be remarks from Mr Musk.

Mr Musk made waves earlier this month when he told employees at Tesla and SpaceX, his space exploration company, to work 40 hours a week in the office and suggested those who can’t find a job should work elsewhere. Should the issue arise, he is said to tell Twitter workers that the comments primarily concerned certain executives and that many engineers at his companies are already working remotely, which he is fine with.

While Mr. Musk has criticized Twitter for over-relying on advertising, he is expected to stress that the company should have multiple revenue streams, including advertising and subscriptions, the person said.

The ever-unpredictable Mr. Musk’s plans may change, and the question-and-answer format could prompt him to expand on these and other topics. Other issues staff have focused on are how Mr Musk plans to monitor harassment if he reduces censorship on Twitter, as he announced, as well as possible job cuts.

Mr Musk has kept Twitter staff and Wall Street updated on whether he will go ahead with his agreed $44 billion purchase of the social media platform.

This has caused the spread between the company’s stock price and the purchase price of $54.20 per share to skyrocket, reflecting fears that the deal will fall through. Twitter stock closed at $37.99 on Wednesday.

Since agreeing to the deal in April, he has questioned Twitter’s estimate of how many of its users are bots and threatened to end the transaction in a letter last week, accusing the company of violating its request for data not to comply via spam accounts. Twitter said at the time it continued to share information with Mr Musk and planned to enforce the merger agreement.

Previously, Mr Musk backed away from a plan to rely on margin loans backed by his Tesla shares and increased the equity he is investing in the deal, a move seen by some as a step toward implementation was viewed.

Twitter, which has estimated that no more than 5% of its daily active users are bots, was in the process of giving him access to advanced data for his team to review. Meanwhile, his team has been working closely with Twitter executives to develop a business plan.

It was not known how much time Mr. Musk will spend on the bot issue on Thursday.

Though his appearance at the meeting indicates a commitment to the deal, it’s still possible he could try renegotiating with Twitter later in the process after his team analyzes the data. Twitter has the right to sue him to enforce the current agreement.

Twitter aims to schedule a shareholder vote on the deal later this summer and close it soon thereafter, assuming all goes according to plan.

write to Cara Lombardo at [email protected]

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Appeared in the June 16, 2022 print edition as “Musk to Confirm He Wants to Own Twitter”.