Elon Musk Visits Twitter as $44 Billion Deal Nears Completion

Elon Musk appears to be on track to close his blockbuster $44 billion deal for Twitter.

Mr. Musk, who runs Tesla and SpaceX, visited Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on Wednesday and tweeted a nine-second video of himself smiling and carrying a porcelain sink into the building.

“Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” he wrote.

Mr. Musk, the world’s richest man, faces a Friday deadline to complete his purchase of Twitter, according to a judicial ruling. He is expected to attend a variety of meetings this week at the social media company, said three Twitter employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He is also set to address Twitter employees on Friday, according to the employees and an internal note from Leslie Berland, the company’s chief marketing officer.

Mr. Musk, 51, also changed his profile on Twitter by describing himself as “Chief Twit” and marking his location as “Twitter HQ.”

A Twitter spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Musk’s appearance at Twitter’s offices suggests that he plans to close the deal after a drawn-out and tumultuous few months. The billionaire agreed to buy the company in April. But within weeks, he appeared to regret his decision and tried to back out.

Twitter then sued Mr. Musk to force him to abide by the deal contract, with the case scheduled to go to trial this month. This month, the billionaire changed his mind again and recommitted himself to the purchase. The Delaware Chancery Court judge in the case delayed the trial, giving a deadline of Oct. 28 for the deal’s completion.

Mr. Musk has promised to transform Twitter by taking it private, doing layoffs and nurturing subscription businesses. He has said he is a “free speech absolutist” and wants to loosen rules around content moderation on the service, including reversing the ban on former President Donald J. Trump from the platform. He has added that Twitter should become an “everything app” modeled after WeChat, a Chinese platform that offers social media, instant messaging and mobile payments.

Mr. Musk has spent the last three weeks finalizing the terms of his financing for the deal, which include $12.5 billion in debt from Wall Street banks. Investment banks typically sell the debt they arrange for such deals to minimize risk that sits on their balance sheets. But given the quick pace at which Mr. Musk is now racing to close the deal, as well as the soured market for such debt, they are instead keeping that debt on their balance sheets at least for the time being, two people with knowledge of the situation said.

With so much uncertainty swirling over the deal, some of Twitter’s 7,500 employees have been jittery. Last week, the company sought to quell employee concerns after reports that Mr. Musk planned to lay off as many as 75 percent of them. Twitter told workers that the current management had no plans for layoffs but could make no promises about what Mr. Musk might do.

Employees who hope to remain at the company have also worried that their compensation might change. Under the terms of his agreement to buy Twitter, Mr. Musk assented to replace the stock options granted to employees with regularly scheduled cash bonuses. But because Mr. Musk has flip-flopped on other deal logistics, some employees have feared that he might not honor his compensation commitments.

On Wednesday, Ms. Berland encouraged Twitter’s employees to greet Mr. Musk if they saw him in the office.

“If you’re in SF and see him around, say hi!” she wrote in an email, which was obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Musk last spoke with Twitter’s workers during a question-and-answer session in June.

“I want Twitter to contribute to a better, long-lasting civilization where we better understand the nature of reality,” he said at that meeting.

Lauren Hirsch contributed reporting.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com