Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in what was one of the biggest tech acquisitions in history. Today it’s worth less than half of that — $20 billion to be exact, according to The Wall Street Journal — and the world’s sometimes richest man sounds pleased as punch.
Seemingly channeling Monty Python’s Black Knight,” Musk told Twitter employees the company’s harsh downturn is barely a scratch. He said he’s optimistic the company would eventually be worth — get this — more than $250 billion, and their private stock grants would increase tenfold. Already facing major headwinds, Musk and Twitter have a long flight ahead of them if they’re going to reach that goal.
Twitter 2: Elon’s Electric Boogaloo hasn’t been entirely well-received by users, investors, or advertisers. Musk went into the acquisition believing the social media platform used by roughly 450 million people monthly had become too quick to silence different opinions and viewed himself as the one to unchain Twitter (and possibly the world) from cancel culture. But it sometimes seemed like the business model was an afterthought.
It’s true that advertising revenue is down for online platforms, but Twitter has seen some of the worst of it. Musk took over in October, and in just one month, the site lost 50 of its top 100 advertisers. Companies like Coca-Cola and Kellogg employed that funny new-age tactic of “quiet quitting,” while groups like Jeep, Chevrolet, and Ford — all competition of Musk’s Telsa — released short statements saying they want to better “understand the direction of the platform” before continuing ad spending. The Information reported that Twitter’s fourth-quarter revenue fell about 35% year over year to just over $1 billion.
But that’s not the end of it:
- Along with the social media platform, Musk acquired Twitter’s $13 billion debt, which is likely to remain a problem as the Fed continues to raise interest rates. To reduce costs, he took a chainsaw to the company. In November, Musk cut Twitter’s roughly 7,500-employee staff in half, which included everyone from product managers and engineers to content moderators and janitors. Just last month, Twitter let go of another 200 workers.
- And those cuts have likely led to some technical problems, not to mention employees now bringing their own toilet paper to the office. Since the Musk takeover, Twitter has experienced more frequent outages, bugs, and glitches. Internet watchdog NetBlocks reported that Twitter had at least four widespread outages in February alone. To put that in perspective, in all of 2022 there were nine outages.
No Comment At This Time: So what exactly has Musk feeling like Mr. Brightside? Well, that’s difficult to say as Musk would rather be cheeky than straight with questions. In an email to employees, Musk said he sees a “a clear, but difficult, path to a >$250B valuation,” and when the WSJ reached out to Twitter for further comment, the paper simply received a poop emoji, which is now the auto response to any media inquiry, Musk tweeted.