Sunday, June 26, 2022

Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s interim CEO

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One person familiar with the situation said Elon Musk is likely to become Twitter’s interim CEO following his $44 billion ($62 billion) acquisition of the social media company. The billionaire is getting closer and closer to the money he needs for the deal.

Musk is the richest person in the world. He is also the CEO of Tesla and runs The Boring Company and SpaceX.

On Thursday, Tesla shares fell more than 8% as investors worried Musk’s use of Twitter could take him away from running the world’s most valuable electric car company.

On the other hand, Twitter shares continued to climb, rising about 1.8% to $50, which is closer to the deal price of $54.20. Investors are betting the new funding made it more likely the deal would go through.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was appointed in November. He is expected to keep his job until the sale of the company to Musk is complete. CNBC was the first to report on Thursday that Musk plans to take over as interim CEO from Twitter.

Musk announced earlier on Thursday that a group of high-profile investors, such as Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital, are willing to put in $7.14 billion ($10 billion) to help him buy Twitter.

Last month, Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said the deal price was not enough to sell his shares. This month, he said Musk would be an “outstanding leader” for Twitter and agreed to divest his $1.89 billion stake in the deal.

Alwaleed said in a tweet: “Great to connect with you, my ‘new’ friend @elonmusk. Kingdom Holding Company and I look forward to rolling our approximately $1.9 billion into the ‘new’ Twitter.”

Musk increased the amount of funding pledged to $27.25 billion, including pledges from 19 investors. At the same time, he reduced the amount of a Morgan Stanley margin loan to $6.25 billion. He has already made plans for loans worth $13 billion.

The other investors are cryptocurrency firm Binance, the firm of New York real estate mogul Steven Witkoff and DFJ Growth IV Partners, which has money in the Boring Company, SpaceX, SolarCity and Tesla, among others.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said, “We hope to help bring social media and web3 together and increase the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology.”

Reuters reported Monday that Musk was in talks with major investment companies and high net worth individuals about getting more money to buy Twitter and putting less of his own money into the deal.

A registration filing says Musk will continue to talk with Twitter shareholders, such as the company’s former CEO, Jack Dorsey, about contributing stock to the proposed acquisition.

Larry Ellison, who sits on Tesla’s board and calls himself Musk’s best friend, has set aside $1 billion to help fund the project.

Elon Musk, who calls himself an “absolute free speech,” has pushed for easy-to-use changes to Twitter, such as an “edit” button and stopping “spam bots” that send many unwanted tweets. He has also said he would try to keep as many investors on Twitter as possible.

Investors are concerned about whether or not to close the deal to buy Twitter.

At the last minute in April, he decided not to join the Twitter board. Musk tweeted in 2018 that he had “secured funding” for a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private, but he didn’t strike a deal.

If Musk left Twitter, he would have to pay a $1 billion fee to get out of the deal. Twitter could also sue him to finalize the deal.

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