[Article publié le jeudi 27.10.2022 à 12:04, mis à jour à 16:11 avec nouveau tweet]
Without knowing if the takeover is effective or not, Elon Musk spoke this Thursday on Twitter, saying that he was buying this social network because it is “important for the future of civilization to have an online public place where a wide variety of opinions can debate in a healthy way, without resorting to violence”.
He specified in a message addressed to advertisers, on the eve of the deadline for the closing of the operation:
“That said, Twitter obviously cannot be a hellish place open to everyone, where anything can be said without consequence. »
In this little note (of 764 characters – let us note it in passing, well beyond the limit of 140-280 s.) which accompanies this tweet, we can read:
“I wanted to speak to you personally to share my motivations for acquiring Twitter. There’s been a lot of speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising. Most of them are fake.
“The reason I bought Twitter is that it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital public square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way, without resorting to violence. There is currently a great danger that social media will become a vehicle for extreme right and extreme left hatreds and divide our society.
“In their relentless quest for clicks, most mainstream media has fed and nurtured these polarized extremes because they believe that’s what makes the money, but in doing so the opportunity for dialogue is lost. »
Twitter and Elon Musk have until tomorrow to agree on the takeover of the social network by the billionaire. Otherwise, the two parties would not escape a trial in November, as the judge in charge of litigation had indicated in early October, after some six months of incessant twists.
It all started at the end of April when Elon Musk made a $44 billion offer to acquire Twitter, which was accepted, although at reluctantly, by the platform. But, first twist, at the beginning of July, the businessman seeks to extract himself unilaterally from the agreement and accuses the company of having lied to him. Elon Musk questions the proportion of automated accounts and spam on the platform, communicated by the latter. There are more of them, he says. In response, Twitter filed a complaint on July 12 before the Delaware Court of Chancery, a court specializing in business law, to force it to honor its buyout commitment or obtain severance pay, estimated at $1 billion. For his part, Elon Musk also filed a complaint before the same court shortly afterwards.
At the beginning of October, Elon Musk turned around for the umpteenth time, ten days before the initial date for the start of the trial: he offered to conclude the transaction at the price initially agreed. Proof of his good will, the American billionaire informed last Monday the banks ready to help him finance the takeover of the social network that he intended to complete the operation by Friday, according to the Bloomberg agency.
According to the latter, the banks that committed to finance the operation have finished drafting the loan agreements and are at the stage of signing the required documents. According to Reuters this time, the Tesla boss’s lawyers have sent the necessary financial documents to the investment funds concerned, including Sequoia Capital, Binance and Qatar Investment Authority. So many clues that seem to confirm that Elon Musk intends to comply with the injunction of American justice.
In addition, the richest man in the world went to the headquarters of Twitter on Wednesday, with a sink in his arms, to then post a video with a pun on the English word “sink”, which can mean both “sink” and “absorb information”. He also renamed himself “Chef Twit” on his profile – “twit” meaning “moron”.
Possible changes to come
However, if he finally carried out the takeover, Elon Musk intends to reorganize the social network according to his desires. The billionaire has already announced that he wants to 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 is 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.
In addition, he may immediately replace the members of the board of directors and the group management. EGiven 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 has reportedly told investors that he ultimately intends 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, specifying that, himself, prefers to leave the ” the benefit of the doubt » to the businessman, but that he will leave if the platform veers to the far right.
Especially since Elon Musk has already shown his intention 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 he also made cryptic allusions to “X”, his vision of an all-purpose application (messaging, social network , financial services…), such as WeChat in China.
A burden for Tesla and SpaceX
If it does not aim for profitability, it is nevertheless certain that this takeover is a heavy financial weight on the shoulders of its other companies. Elon Musk’s personal fortune is estimated at some $224 billion by the magazine Forbes. But much of that wealth consists of its Tesla and SpaceX stock.
” 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.
To complete its financing, it took out $13 billion in bank loans backed by Twitter and called on investment funds.
” This is a brutal situation for Tesla shareholders who have to bear this burden, as Musk may need to sell an additional $5-10 billion of stock.said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.