Despite initially adopting a ‘poison pill’ strategy, Twitter has eventually caved in and bowed down to the will of Elon Musk. The world’s richest man has left no stone unturned in his quest to acquire Twitter and unlock its “extraordinary potential,” and has officially succeeded.
CEO Parag Agarwal however feels, that the future is now an uncertain one, according to several employees, to whom he spoke candidly in a company-wide town hall meeting. While the deal to sell Twitter to Musk for $44 billion (which is $1 billion more than Musk’s “best and final offer”) has officially been announced, the deal is yet to be closed.
Agarwal deferred many questions asked by employees (including Musk’s plans for Twitter, the rationale of the board regarding the impending acquisition, and the possibility of layoffs) saying that they should be put to Musk, who will join the company’s staff for a Q&A session at a later date.
However, he allayed fears of layoffs by assuring them that no such thing would be taking place. Bret Taylor, chair of Twitter’s board of directors, reiterated the point, saying that the agreement with Musk prioritized “operating continuity” until the deal was closed.
“I think we feel very comfortable that (the deal) gives this team the ability to continue to make the company successful in between signing and closing the transaction,” Taylor said.
When asked whether former US President Donald Trump will make a comeback to Twitter once the titan came into Musk’s hands, Agarwal replied that once the deal closed, they did not know in which direction the platform will go. You may remember that Trump had been permanently suspended from Twitter in 2021 following the attack on the US Capitol.
“I believe when we have an opportunity to speak with Elon, it’s a question we should address with him,” he said.
However, the former US President answered the question himself, saying that he would not return to Twitter even if Musk was buying it. “I will be on Truth Social within the week. It’s on schedule. We have a lot of people signed up. I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual. We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter,” Trump said.
Musk has been a controversially strong advocate of “free speech” and has maintained that Twitter, which is the de-facto town square of the 21st century, should be a platform for free speech. Of course, Musk has his own definitions to free speech perhaps, considering he himself has been known to shut down critics of his work at Tesla and SpaceX.
It is currently unknown whether Musk will take up the position of the Chairman, given that he had refused to join the board of directors of Twitter earlier. Of course, that had come after his stake of 9.2% in Twitter had been disclosed. If Agarwal faces the axe within 12 months after the acquisition, then he will be paid an estimated $42 million.
The question is, will free speech find its way back to Twitter at the hands of the world’s richest man, whose penchant for using social media for multiple purposes is well known? Only time will tell.