NEW YORK – Elon Musk, still the world’s richest man, has become $39 billion poorer since he talked about buying Twitter.
The paradox. valued at $231 billion on the Forbes Real Time Billionaires Index at close of play Friday, only a portion of Musk’s losses due to his still number-one ownership of Twitter.
Most of the evaporation comes from investors who have given up on Tesla. The carp is that legal issues on Twitter may distract a dissident suitor.
Among his infatuations, Musk’s performance was worse. The stock is down nearly 21 percent in the past 30 days at $769 on Friday.
Seventeen days earlier, Musk had ticked off a $44 billion purchase of Twitter.
On Friday, he threatened to convert a classic, saying he demanded more clarity that Twitter has only 5 percent fake accounts.
“Twitter deal is temporarily on hold pending account support that spam/fake accounts already account for less than 5% of users,” Musk wrote on Twitter, challenging Twitter’s claim that spam and bot accounts are less than 5 percent of total users.
As expected, Twitter crashed more than 25 percent at some point. I only managed to catch the bloodbath when Musk went on to say that he “remains committed to possession.”
The stock recovered somewhat, up 9.67 percent, to just over $40, still well below the $54.20 purchase price Musk said he would put on the table.
Friday’s close is just a poetic bid above the 39.31 price on April 1, when Musk chose to reveal that he had built a significant stake in TWTR stock. His late disclosure is legally suspect under SEC rules.
Twitter’s market capitalization on Friday was $34.458 billion. That’s $9.5 billion less than the amount Musk had stuck with in a full buyout.
The long shadow of musk seems to swallow up morale and talent. Two of Twitter’s top CEOs just left this week. Twitter’s general manager of consumer products, Kayvon Bikpur, said CEO Parag Agrawal had asked him to leave.
The general manager of revenue, Bruce Falk, has also announced his departure.
“The truth is that this was not how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and it was not my decision. Parag asked me to leave after he told me he wanted to lead the team in a different direction,” Bikpur said in a candid tweet.
Falk, who has been with Twitter for 5 years, announced his departure without specifying which of the parties took the first step.
Twitter CEO Agrawal announced Falck and Beykpour’s departure from the company in an email.
He pointed to a temporary halt to most hiring and a reversal of spending. “From this week, we will be pausing most hiring and repackaging, except for critical roles in the business as defined by employees in partnership with HRBPs (Human Resources Business Partners), and will also review all extended offers to determine relevance and which offers should be retracted. ”
Agrawal said he had no plans to lay off workers but leaders could be fired. “We are not planning company-wide layoffs, but leaders will continue to make changes to their organizations to improve efficiencies as needed. As always, performance management will remain a priority at this time at all levels to ensure we have the strongest teams possible.” (Eance)