Elon Musk should confirm his desire to own Twitter Inc.
when speaking to employees at the social media company on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The billionaire Tesla Inc.
The CEO is expected to take pre-submitted employee questions for about an hour during a virtual meeting on Twitter Thursday morning West Coast time, the person said. In addition to reiterating his interest in owning the company and his vision of its importance in the world, Mr. Musk is likely to clarify recent comments about remote work and address aspects of his strategy for Twitter, including the role of advertising and subscriptions.
Twitter shares rose about 5% in after-hours trading following the Wall Street Journal’s report on Mr Musk’s expected remarks.
Mr Musk made waves earlier this month when he told employees of Tesla and SpaceX, his space exploration company, to spend 40 hours a week in the office and suggested that those who cannot find work employment elsewhere. If the topic were to come up, he should tell Twitter employees that the comments mostly applied to certain executives and that many engineers at his companies are already working remotely, which is fine with him.
Although Mr. Musk has criticized Twitter for its overreliance on advertising, he should point out that the company should have multiple sources of revenue, including advertising and subscriptions, the person said.
The ever-unpredictable Mr. Musk’s plans could still change, and the Q&A format could prompt him to expand on these and other topics. Other issues employees have focused on include how Mr. Musk plans to control harassment if he reduces censorship on Twitter as he said, as well as potential job cuts.
Mr Musk has been keeping Twitter and Wall Street employees on edge over whether he will go through with his agreed-upon $44 billion purchase of the social media platform.
That sent the gap between the company’s stock price and the purchase price skyrocketing to $54.20 per share, reflecting fears the deal could fall apart. Twitter stock closed Wednesday at $37.99.
Since agreeing to the deal in April, he has questioned Twitter’s estimate of how many of his users are bots and last week threatened to end the deal in a letter accusing the company not to comply with its request for spam account data. Twitter said at the time that it was continuing to share information with Mr. Musk and that it planned to enforce the merger agreement.
Earlier, Mr Musk backed out of a plan to rely on margin loans backed by his Tesla shares and increased the equity he is putting into the deal, a move some considered as a step towards its realization.
Twitter, which has estimated that no more than 5% of its daily active users are bots, is giving it access to extended data for its team to review. Meanwhile, his team is working closely with Twitter executives to come up with a business plan.
It was not possible to know how much time, if any, Mr. Musk will spend Thursday on the bot issue.
While his appearance at the meeting suggests a commitment to the deal, it’s still possible he could seek to renegotiate with Twitter later in the process after his team analyzes the data. Twitter has the right to sue him for upholding the current deal.
Twitter aims to schedule a shareholder vote on the deal later this summer and close it soon after, assuming all goes according to plan.
Write to Cara Lombardo at [email protected]
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the June 16, 2022 print edition as “Musk to Confirm He Wants to Own Twitter”.