Now He's Locked In Here With Us
Elon Musk buys Twitter, and abandoning something in search of something better
It’s April 25th: the perfect date. Not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket. Is it the perfect date for Elon Musk to buy Twitter? He got the money, including $33.5 billion of his own assets, partly in the form of what Reuters’ Krystal Hu and Anirban Sen called “a risky $12.5 billion margin loan, secured against his stock of Tesla,” which, “were Tesla's stock to drop by 40%, he would have to repay.” People familiar with the matter told Reuters’ Greg Roumeliotis that Twitter was “set to accept Musk's $43 billion offer.” In the New York Times people with knowledge of the situation were going hog wild, telling Lauren Hirsch, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger that Twitter is “nearing a deal” as their phones caught fire from the rate of incoming texts. Not to be outdone, the normally staid people familiar with the matter told the Wall St. Journal that Musk and the Twitter board “could finalize a deal Monday.” Looks like the ball’s in your court now, people with knowledge of the situation.
Some people with a lot of knowledge about one part of the situation are the “11 Twitter employees who asked to not be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly” that Kate Conger, in a solo side-project, reports are not especially happy about the impending deal:
Employees said they have largely stopped celebrating the richest man in the world since he declared his intent earlier this month to buy Twitter, scrap its content moderation policies, and transform the publicly traded company into a private one.
To be fair, Conger does note that there are some Musk fans among Twitter’s workers—“about ten” of them.
In an internal Slack message seen by The New York Times that asked if employees were excited about Mr. Musk, about 10 people responded with a “Yes” emoji. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.
Another group of people familiar with the matter is Twitter’s board, who Matt Levine tries but fails to avoid describing as “11 people who don’t use Twitter and don’t own any Twitter stock.” What they do know is the contents of Twitter’s Q1 earnings report, which comes out on Thursday. Will the report be bad? I focused on that question and drew a tarot card, which was the 8 of Cups: “abandoning something in search of something better.” The meaning of that seems like it will be pretty obvious in hindsight.1
Should you abandon Twitter in search of something better? Consider this: if the deal goes through, a big chunk of Elon Musk’s net worth will be directly exposed to the actions of millions of howling lunatics who hate him and have nothing left to lose. Tumblr users managed to destroy more than a billion dollars worth of Yahoo! cash in just six years, and according to Ryan Broderick those people are all on Twitter now. Maybe right now we’re all locked in Twitter with him, but if Elon Musk buys the platform, suddenly he’s locked in there with us.
The most comprehensive and compelling analysis I’ve seen of what Musk is even, like, doing here is Ranjan Roy’s Margins post, “Elon's Giant Package.” The summary is that Tesla is probably at its peak this quarter, and Elon is looking to lock down his access to the goose that lays the golden memestonks, but the whole post is worth reading if you got this far into my summary of all this.
Last Minute Musk/Twitter Update:
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Be Smart: Yes, crypto is a scam, but so is the rest of finance.
Emily Sundberg says we’re drinking martinis again, but when pressed for specifics she clarified that we’re drinking vodka martinis, so I guess the pandemic gave us all a taste for hand sanitizer. School officials in Walton County, FL finally take action to save our precious children from the horror of knowing that babies exist. Today in Squids. In that past I’ve advised you to always look in the hole, but recent events force me to clarify: please don’t look in the hole this hard. In Oakland, CA, egg sales were up sharply this weekend. And Former Utah Senator Orrin Hatch died, after a life in which he first clawed his way out of poverty and then spent seven terms in the Senate ensuring that as many other people as possible stayed there.
Two More Good Things:
Dracula Daily will email you Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel as it happens starting on May 3rd, and in Recommend If You Like, Emerson Dameron wrote simultaneously the nicest thing ever written about me personally and a better explanation of what Today in Tabs is than I’ve ever managed myself.
Today’s Song: Outkast, “Ms. Jackson”
~ I am four eels ~
Well this is what happens when I write a whole opening section about a fast-developing news story in the middle of the day. Let’s pretend I sent this at 2:00 ok? I am probably never leaving Twitter so you can continue to find me @fka_tabs and @TodayinTabs, but if you all become Elon refugees I’ll do a “Where Am I Now” info exchange board for subscribers.
Update: it was.