SAN FRANCISCO – For weeks, Elon Musk has been trashing Twitter in public. On Thursday, he acted as if he would eventually become the owner of the company.
In a morning one-hour question-and-answer session with 8,000 or more Twitter employees – for the first time Mr. Musk has spoken to him since he struck a 44 billion deal to buy the social media company in April – the world’s richest man revealing his plans for the service. In an impressive and at times obscure speech, he touched on issues such as growth, potential layoffs, issues such as anonymity, Chinese apps and the global nature of Twitter.
Mr Musk said in a virtual meeting, which was streamed live to Twitter employees and which was heard by the New York Times. He added that he hopes the service can help mankind “better understand the nature of the universe, as much as possible.”
The meeting, in which Shri. Kasturi walked into the hotel room with his cellphone and indicated that he was ready to close the blockbuster deal. In recent weeks, his intentions towards Twitter have been questionable. The billionaire, who also runs electric car maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, has repeatedly raised questions about fake Twitter accounts. Earlier this month, his lawyers said the company was refusing to provide him with information, possibly an excuse to end the acquisition or try to renegotiate.
Mr. Musk, who offered $ 54.20 a share to buy Twitter, may have changed his mind after global markets collapsed. Shares of Twitter are now trading at around 38. And shares of Tesla, which Mr. The main source of musk wealth has also declined.
In April, Mr. Musk agreed to buy Twitter without any due diligence. He’s on the hook for a $ 1 billion breakup fee if he’s gone. Under the terms of the deal, it also has the right to sue for forcing Twitter to complete the acquisition if its debt financing for the purchase remains intact.
Twitter has insisted the deal is on track and is sharing information with Mr. Musk.
In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. Musk has not directly commented on whether he will close the deal with Twitter. But he said he has grand plans for the service.
In the conversation, which was moderated by Leslie Burland, Twitter’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Musk said he hopes to expand the service to more than a billion people worldwide. That would be almost four times the number of people currently using Twitter. He added that he handles Tesla and expects it on Twitter and will be particularly involved in social media service features.
“I expect them to listen to me in this regard,” he said. Kasturi said.
Mr. Musk answered questions collected from Twitter employees on the internal slack messaging system last week.
Some questions were about workplace culture, including remote work. This month Mr. Musk sent memos to Tesla and SpaceX workers, saying they expected him to be in office 40 hours a week. Twitter employees have mostly worked remotely in the coronavirus epidemic.
In the meeting Mr. Musk said it is open to Twitter employees who work remotely, although developing software to build cars is different from showing up every day. But he noted that the widespread lack of participation in the office could contribute to the declining “Esprit de Corps” and said he hoped people would be more willing to come to the office in the future.
Mr. Musk avoided giving a direct answer as to whether he would be fired on Twitter under his watch, although his response was ominous.
“Right now, the cost has exceeded the revenue,” he said. “It’s not a great situation.”
Mr. Musk, a longtime power user of Twitter with more than 98 million followers, has long said he believes the company’s potential has been underestimated. He added that he hopes to revive the service out of sight of the public market by privatizing the company and making significant changes to how Twitter works.
Inside Twitter, some employees had mixed feelings about Mr. Musk. Some have said they are concerned about their Twitter habits and vague politics, and they are concerned about how they would choose to take the right approach to policing the platform. Twitter has raised questions about the years it has spent building its policy department.
The other points to Shri. Musk’s reputation as a researcher. Even after setting up previous Twitter executives failed to reach high financial and user performance targets, some employees said Mr. Musk can rejuvenate the company.