It looks like Twitter is actually preparing to sell to Elon Musk today. From Liana Baker and Michelle F Davis at Bloomberg:
Twitter Inc. is in the final stretch of negotiations about a $43 billion sale to Elon Musk that could rank as one of the biggest-ever leveraged buyouts of a listed company, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The social media company is working to hammer out terms of a transaction and could reach an agreement as soon as Monday if negotiations go smoothly, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Musk is lining up partners for the acquisition and continues to speak to potential co-investors, one of the people said.
I have never been a fan of Elon Musk (that’s putting it lightly), and I stopped using Twitter back in January when I realized being consistently annoyed by the constant over the top attention-seeking behavior wasn’t worth the few good discussions (and genuinely funny threads, especially from black twitter) I would see sometimes. I’m curious about this, but I don’t really care too much.
But considering how I feel about both Musk and Twitter, this buyout actually makes sense to me. I guess an annoying, attention seeking troll billionaire controlling a service that encourages and rewards annoying, attention seeking trollish behavior fits.
Later in the article:
Musk is one of Twitter’s most prominent and outspoken users. He is known for sometimes cryptic or mysterious tweets, lobbed at all hours of the day, on everything from cryptocurrencies to space travel to whether Twitter should have an edit button. While Musk has tweeted about plans to authenticate Twitter users and stop paying its board a salary, he’s not publicly outlined much about how he’d manage the company.
He has said his main motivation in buying Twitter is to ensure the principles of free speech, which he says is “essential to a functioning democracy.”
His “free speech” reasoning is pretty weak to me:
- The guarantee from the first amendment of the constitution of the US is about Congress not being able to pass laws prohibiting free speech. It doesn’t have anything to do with companies like Twitter.
- You have to moderate services that allow users to submit things. There’s just no way around it. Either you make and enforce terms of service, or you get overrun by spam and illegal content.
- He’s already been pretty vocal about silencing his critics in the past, and it’s pretty hard not to imagine he’s probably interested in doing something about them on the service once he owns it.
I’m guessing the changes he wants to make will be pretty terrible, and people will slowly start to move to other services (which has already been happening today). I’m curious how quickly it’ll lose users, especially as we start seeing changes to the service.