Elona Musk July 8 decision to unilaterally withdraw from the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter may have violated the terms of its takeover agreement and confused the public. It also caused chaos in the ranks of Twitter.
“Twitter is a shitty show on the inside; I can confirm this for you right now, without a doubt,” says a Twitter employee who spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
They are far from alone in this opinion. “There is no strong leadership right now,” says a second current Twitter employee, also speaking anonymously. “The whole company is running on autopilot.” The third, who is about to leave the company, is no less annoyed. “I expect it to be a mess,” they say. “I would like someone to hold Elon by the legs because I think it sets a risky precedent by allowing him to interfere so much, cut the stock and then dump it.”
Twitter employees have been ordered not to speak publicly about the takeover on their own platform and say they are being kept in the dark. “We weren’t told anything by senior management,” says the first employee. Internal messages about recent events were limited to a message pointing users to a tweet from company chairman Bret Taylor who said Twitter’s board is “committed to closing the deal at the price and terms agreed with Mr. Musk and plans to take legal action to enforce the merger agreement.”
Employees were asked not to add their own comments about what is happening at the company. “Every time I find out about Twitter, I find out on Twitter,” says the first employee. “I learned about Musk’s news from friends, not from my company, which was a constant problem from the very beginning.” Twitter declined to comment.
The mess will most likely end up in court. Twitter hired Delaware law firm Wachtell Lipton to make sure Musk lives up to his end of the deal. During his tweet, Taylor said he was “confident” the company would win. Former Twitter CEO and Chairman Evan Williams said he believes Twitter should cut ties and “let this whole ugly episode end.”
“For Twitter, this fiasco is a nightmare scenario that will lead to climbing Everest for Parag. [Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO] and Co. to meet the many challenges ahead,” says Dan Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities, a New York-based analytics firm. Among the challenges Twitter is facing are employee turnover and low morale, advertising issues, loss of investor confidence due to low stock price and defamatory claims about fake accounts on the platform.
According to Ives, the court case, if it does take place, is likely to drag on and be ugly, which “will cloud the head of Twitter in the near future.” The company’s reputation has been hit in succession, and Twitter is facing questions about its ability to accurately report the number of bots on the platform, its monetized user base, and its leadership. This is a weakness that Musk is all too aware of and has publicly emphasized when mocking Agrawal in consistent tweets that pierce lengthy, seemingly verified claims about the capabilities of Twitter bots. But Musk himself has created problems with his plans for the firm, especially around free speech, says Pratik Wagre, director of policy at the Internet Freedom Foundation. “I think after the acquisition it would create uncertainty about Musk’s position on this issue, along with uncertainty on many other things,” he says.
BUT number of executives have already left the company after Musk announced his takeover bid, countless other companies further up the food chain were affected. “The gut feeling is that people have applied for jobs and will continue to apply,” says Twitter’s first employee.
Employees say they were particularly frustrated by the lack of support from management when a number of employees became embroiled in bites from Project Veritas designed to catch them publicly saying negative things about their potential new boss. “I joined Twitter and wanted to stay,” says the first employee. “I liked my job. Now nothing will keep me here, even if they return to what they were.
The brain drain is likely to continue as current employees worry about Twitter. withdrawal of job offers for applicants and the impact it may have on those who apply in the future. One job seeker who was offered a position on Twitter this year only to have his offer rescinded during a takeover says they will reapply for the company, but not before asking for a manager they will eventually report to. , on domestic policy and plans for the future. future.
Others are not as convinced that the reputational risks to Twitter are as great as the company fears. “The real concern was that he democratized it too much and allowed people to say things about him that would have been inappropriate,” says Carey Cooper, professor of business at the Manchester Business School. “Shareholders will be worried because he has commercial experience.”
However, Cooper believes that the impact on investors could be more significant. “I think there is a downside, because [Musk] I would think of it as a commercial business acquisition as well as a platform,” he says. Cooper believes Twitter’s senior management will have to take charge in Musk’s absence and present a new business plan to revitalize the company.
But there are few signs that this could happen, says Debra Aho Williamson, director of analytics firm Insider Intelligence. “The last few months have been a big distraction for Twitter, preventing it from focusing on the fundamentals of its business,” she says. “If Musk can get out of the deal, Twitter will be left with the same problems it was before he came on the scene. User growth is slowing down. And while ad revenue is still marginally growing, Twitter is now facing a slowdown in the economy, which could lead to a reduction in ad spending across all social platforms.”
There is also the issue of personnel. The piling up of problems is a concern for Twitter investors. Vanguard Group, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, Kingdom Holding Group and State Street did not respond to questions about whether they think Twitter should fight Musk in court or let the deal fall through. Ives believes that investors would prefer a future for Twitter without Musk, with Agrawal taking over the company and reimbursing Musk’s punitive damages. Lawyers believe that Musk have to pay a significant amount unless he buys the company. For employees, it doesn’t really matter. “I can’t imagine what will happen in five years,” says the first Twitter employee. “But I know that no one I know will be here.
Which path these investors take could be critical for the next few months, as well as whether Twitter can recover from the devastating events of the past three months. Twitter’s share price has fluctuated wildly since Musk’s involvement with the company was first announced on April 4, when he announced his 9 percent stake in the firm. The price rose 27 percent on the day his stake was announced to $49.97. It then peaked at $51.70 on April 25 when Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s offer, before collapsing as Musk began detailing the issues he had with the platform and finding reasons to pull out of the deal.
Twitter’s share price opened at $34.64 today, 12 percent below its value just before Musk became closely associated with the company. Since then, it has fallen even further. “Musk basically fucked us, fucked the stock price, did a lot of layoffs and layoffs,” Twitter’s first employee tells WIRED. “Morale is so damn low that no one wants to be here right now anyway.”
Additional report by Vittoria Elliott
Credit: www.wired.com /