Elon Musk could become the owner of Twitter on Friday after months of a Hollywood saga, unless there is a new twist that would lead to a lawsuit between the richest man in the world and the iconic social network.
“Everything suggests that the lawyers are cooperating and moving forward. I think on Friday we will learn that Elon Musk has taken over Twitter“, summarizes Adam Badawi, professor of law at the University of Berkeley.
At the end of April, the boss of Tesla had made an acquisition offer of 44 billion dollars, reluctantly accepted by Twitter, before seeking to extract himself from it unilaterally at the beginning of July, accusing the company of having lied to him.
The company’s board of directors had filed a complaint, and seemed well on its way to forcing the whimsical leader to keep his word.
But at the beginning of October, ten days before the opening of the trial, a new about-face: Elon Musk offers to conclude the transaction at the price initially agreed.
The judge in charge of litigation then adjourns the procedure and gives the two parties until October 28 to agree, failing which the trial will take place in November.
“If Elon Musk tries to step down again, we can expect the wrath of the judge“, comments Adam Badawi.
According to the Bloomberg news agency, the multi-billionaire pledged on Monday to complete the acquisition with bankers who are helping to finance the operation.
And on Wednesday, Elon Musk went to Twitter headquarters, with a sink in his arms, to then post a video with a pun on the English word “sink“, which can mean both “bathroom sink” and “absorb information“.
He also renamed himself “Chief Twit“on his profile -“tweet“meaning”dumbass“.
If the whimsical leader and the social network sign the sale, “it’s like for a house: you are given the keys“, notes Adam Badawi.
Elon Musk can then immediately replace the members of the board of directors and the management of the group. Given the tone of his April text exchanges with Parag Agrawal, the current boss may not stay in his post for long.
And he probably won’t be the only one to leave. Elon Musk reportedly told investors that he ultimately intended to lay off almost 75% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, according to information published last week by the Washington Post.
“It pissed off a lot of people“Notes a Twitter employee, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
He calculated, based on internal figures, that more than 700 employees have left the group since June. “These are rather voluntary departures, either for ethical reasons, or for basely financial reasons, because an unlisted company is less interesting“, he believes.
He himself prefers to leave the “the benefit of the doubt” to the businessman, but he will leave if the platform turns to the far right.
Because Elon Musk intends to relax the moderation of content, which he considers too strict, as demanded by the American right.
He also claimed that profitability was not his priority, that he would fight spam better, and made cryptic allusions to “X“, his vision of an all-purpose application (messaging, social network, financial services, etc.), like WeChat in China.
“We will obviously pay way too much, but the potential (of the platform) is far greater than its current value.“, he told analysts recently at Tesla’s earnings conference.
Elon Musk’s personal fortune is estimated at some $224 billion by Forbes magazine. But much of that wealth consists of its Tesla and SpaceX stock.
To complete its financing, it took out $13 billion in bank loans backed by Twitter and called on investment funds.
“It’s a brutal situation for Tesla shareholders who have to bear this burden, as Musk may need to sell an additional $5-10 billion in stock.“, estimates Dan Ives, an analyst of Wedbush Securities.
The leader assured that he would take Twitter out of the stock market. The company would then more easily escape any external control.
On October 4, during a conference on innovations at Tesla, he had nevertheless declared that he was “essential“that its flagship be listed on Wall Street,”because if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy stock and vote differently“.
“It’s very important that I can’t just do what I want“, he added, hilarious.