Sep 27, 2022 - Economy

Elon Musk's Twitter revenge play

Photo illustration of a close-up of Elon Musk with eye black grease in the shape of the Twitter logo under his eyes

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Theo Wargo/WireImage

Elon Musk knows that there's a good chance he'll lose his lawsuit against Twitter, thus requiring him to buy the social media company for $44 billion. But, were that to happen, don't expect him to crawl under a rock and lick his wounds.

  • Instead, Musk will focus on disproving the doubters.

The big picture: Musk understands that Twitter today isn't worth $44 billion, and that it probably wasn't worth $44 billion when he first signed the merger agreement in April. So the goal would be to make it worth even more, via an eventual sale or return to the public markets.

  • Yes, anyone who buys a company wants to increase its value. The difference here is that Musk's drive would be as much about proving skeptics wrong is it is about padding his pockets.

Behind the scenes: Sources close to Musk often talk about his reflexive distaste for the gospel of "how it's always been done," whether that be auto manufacturing or rocketry.

  • They believe he'd bring that same ethos to Twitter, alongside his obsessive attention to product detail, even if they can't figure out where he'll find the spare hours.

Caveat: Again, this is all about what would happen were Musk to lose the trial. He still may win, or even settle (something there was unfounded speculation about yesterday, after reports that Musk and/or Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal delayed scheduled depositions).

The bottom line: Corporate acquisitions are ultimately judged years after they close. Musk could lose the Battle of Delaware, but still win the Twitter War.

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