Apr 15, 2022 - News

Elon Musk's offer raises specter of Twitter move to ATX

Illustration of the Twitter logo about to be caught in a lasso.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Elon Musk's offer to buy Twitter for about $43 billion raised a question in our minds: Could the social media behemoth relocate to Austin?

Flashback: Musk moved Tesla headquarters from California to Austin last year.

Driving the news: Musk's offer, disclosed in federal filings, comes after the billionaire repeatedly criticized Twitter, took a 9.2% stake in the social media company and backed out of joining its board of directors.

Why it matters: Moving Twitter to Austin would not only accelerate the profound changes to our once-sleepy, government-and-university town — see housing crisis — but also fundamentally challenge the Bay Area for Big Tech primacy.

  • Already, Apple, Meta, Google and Oracle, among others, have heavy footprints here.

Between the lines: Such a move — we imagine Elon flying his sleek, Airwolf-like, electric-powered helicopter from Tesla to the top of a downtown Twitter tower — would make Austin into an Emerald Kingdom, known as the stomping grounds of the world's richest person.

  • As if there isn't something already a little unreal about Austin.

Reality check: Musk claims his offer is "best and final," which will make it easier for Twitter's board to reject, Axios' Felix Salmon observes.

  • Twitter shares were trading above the proposed takeover price as recently as October, and it's hard to imagine there's a level of goodwill toward him in the Twitter boardroom that would militate in favor of accepting his offer.

Felix's thought bubble: You're going to hear much more about this bid than you would about a normal proposed M&A transaction, in part because Twitter is where journalists congregate and do a lot of their work, and they really don't want to be working in Musk's private playpen.

The bottom line: "There will be distractions ahead," wrote Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal after Musk decided not to join the Twitter board.

  • No kidding.

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