Elon Musk wasted no time putting his stamp on his new social media company this week, moving in everything including the kitchen sink and firing top executives at Twitter. Thursday was Twitter’s last day as a publicly traded company; on Friday, Twitter’s stock went dark.
As the $44 billion transaction closed Thursday, Musk fired Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde, according to AP and others. Segal was the first to confirm his departure on Twitter. The three executives are reportedly owed around $100 million in exit payouts, according to calculations by Bloomberg News.
Musk changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” and assumed the role as CEO.
Tweeting, “the bird is freed,” Musk drew swift rebuke from EU commissioner Thierry Breton, who responded, “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.” Regulators, advertisers and users alike are wondering what a Musk-controlled Twitter will mean.
The eccentric billionaire, who is also CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company, attempted to assuage Twitter advertisers in an open letter, claiming that “much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising” has been wrong.
“I didn’t [buy Twitter] because it would be easy,” he wrote. “I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.
“That said, Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk continued.
But analysts do expect the landscape of Twitter to change under Musk, who has previously said he would reverse lifetime bans on the platform, most notably of former President Donald Trump. Trump reacted to the change in ownership on his own social media platform, Truth Social.
“I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands,” Trump wrote.
But according to a Wall Street Journal report, major advertisers would think twice if Trump starts tweeting again. The Journal reports that a dozen GroupM clients – a lead ad-buying agency – have told the agency to pause all of their ads on Twitter if Trump is reinstated on the platform.
An end to the 6-month saga
Musk finalized his Twitter acquisition a day before the court-ordered deadline and six months after Twitter accepted his buyout bid of $54.20 per share. But the road to this point was full of twists and turns, as our Straight Arrow News coverage reveals.
April 26: 3 ways Elon Musk hopes to change Twitter
Oct. 28: Free bird: Elon Musk owns Twitter after 6 long months. Here’s what’s next.