Following the dismissal of the whole board on Monday, Elon Musk strengthened his hold on Twitter Inc.
Musk, 51, finished buying Twitter last week for $44 billion and started immediately reshaping the firm to his preferences. He fired four of the company’s most senior executives, among them Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal, as one of his first actions. According to those familiar with Musk’s ambitions, who goes by the moniker Chief Twit, he intends to effectively operate the business himself in the short term.
Following the dismissal of all nine other board members in compliance with the merger agreement’s conditions, Musk was left as the only director of the social media firm as of Monday, according to a securities filing. Who Musk would propose to join the board was unclear. The boards of Tesla Inc. and the other businesses he oversees are stacked with Musk supporters. For instance, his brother Kimbal Musk serves on the Tesla board of directors.
Twitter would buy outstanding 3.875% senior notes due 2027 and 5% senior notes due 2030 as a result of the merger’s closure at an offer price of 101% of the principal plus accrued and unpaid interest, according to the filing. In the event of a change in management, Twitter was compelled by the bond arrangements to make an offer to buy back its debt. Musk has also requested a judge to reject a lawsuit he filed in an effort to cancel the acquisition after the agreement was finalized.
Musk’s first few days on the job have been filled with rumor and speculation, including about how he will handle content moderation on Twitter and how many jobs he’ll cut in an effort to control costs. Concerns over massive layoffs swirled in the run-up to Musk’s take-private transaction, when potential investors were told that he’d eliminate 75% of the workforce. Musk later denied that the cuts would be that deep, though he hasn’t elaborated on the plans. In recent weeks, Musk has hinted at his staffing priorities, saying he wants to focus on the core product.
Just three days in to his new job, the billionaire’s views on content moderation were also being tested after he posted and deleted a tweet spreading a baseless anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the recent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The episode underscored the pressures that Musk, a self-styled “free speech absolutist,” now faces in running the popular social media website — particularly in how to place limits on misinformation and hate speech on its service. Musk has pledged to advertisers that Twitter won’t become a “free-for-all hellscape” under his leadership but at the same time pronounced that unfettered speech should be the norm on the site.
Additionally, Musk has been working hard to improve the Twitter platform. According to claims in The Verge and Platformer, he has instructed developers to work on restarting the looping video app Vine. He also reportedly intends to remove verified users’ blue badges if they don’t pay up to $20 per month for the site’s new subscription service Twitter Blue.