Oct 5, 2022 - Economy

What's next for Elon Musk's Twitter purchase

Illustration of a hand giving money to the Twitter bird logo.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

It's over. Twitter called Elon's bluff, and Elon caved. Now he gets to own the thing he once wanted to own, in exchange for $44 billion and a face full of egg.

Why it matters: The world's richest man is about to control one of the world's most consequential public squares.

Driving the news: Musk told Twitter via letter that he again is willing to buy the company at $54.20 per share. That's the same price Musk agreed to pay back in April, after which he sued to renege.

  • If Twitter accepts and Delaware Chancery Court stays the case, neither of which has yet happened, it would preempt a trial that had been set to begin on Oct. 17.
  • There's no set timetable on when the deal would close, even though Twitter shareholders have already approved and the bank financing has been underwritten. Some reports suggest days or weeks, although those around the deal are using the word "months."

Behind the scenes: As we wrote last week, Musk had become increasingly pessimistic about his chances of prevailing in court, and sources say he's been talking to people about Twitter's future as if he expected to eventually own it.

  • It's unclear why Musk chose to reverse course now, but one possibility is that he wanted to avoid a deposition that was set to begin on Thursday. Or maybe he just tired of throwing good legal dollars after bad.

What comes next: Musk has understandably received a lot of attention for his views on content moderation, including his possible re-platforming of former President Trump, but his primary mission will be to grow Twitter by significantly upgrading its products.

  • He hinted at this in text messages disclosed last week, in which he emphasized hiring good engineers over good managers.
  • This could include copying certain features of rivals like Instagram and TikTok, plus developing new features that attract a younger demographic.
  • In short, Musk wants to make Twitter cool again.

The bottom line: Musk is about to buy a company in which many employees view him negatively, especially after he publicly trashed their work, and where many with significant tock holdings have been itching with senioritis.

  • His legal saga is nearly over, but his work is just beginning.

Go deeper: Listen to "Empire of Risk," the second installment of our "How it Happened" podcast docuseries on Musk vs. Twitter.

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