Elon Musk’s Twitter Will Be a Wild Ride

Oct 5, 2022 | Political News

Buckle up.

Elon Musk, who for months has been strenuously trying to back out of a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, now appears ready to buy the company after all. In a surprise letter to Twitter on Monday night, Mr. Musk offered to take Twitter private at his originally proposed price — $54.20 per share — marking a possible end to one of the most dramatic legal feuds in Silicon Valley history.

It’s worth noting that the deal could still fall apart — Mr. Musk is famously subject to 11th-hour mood shifts — but the most likely outcome now is that the world’s richest man will in fact become Twitter’s new owner, possibly as soon as this week.

Much is unknown about what Mr. Musk will do with Twitter if he acquires it. The mercurial billionaire has made only the vaguest of public statements about his plans for the company and its products.

But we now know, thanks in part to a bevy of text messages released as part of the protracted legal battle, that it will be nothing like business as usual. And there are at least six predictions I feel confident making, if the deal does in fact close.

He’s going to clean house, starting with firing Twitter’s chief executive, Parag Agrawal.

A juicy set of text messages between Mr. Musk and his friends and business associates emerged last week, as part of the legal battle. In them, Mr. Musk made clear that he was unhappy with Twitter’s current leadership — in particular with Parag Agrawal, the chief executive, who took over last year from Jack Dorsey.

The texts revealed that Mr. Agrawal had initially sought to work constructively with Mr. Musk, and that the two even had a friendly dinner near San Jose, Calif., in March. But the men eventually clashed. Mr. Agrawal, at one point, told Mr. Musk via text message that his habit of tweeting things like “Is Twitter dying?” was “not helping me make Twitter better.”

“What did you get done this week?” Mr. Musk shot back. “This is a waste of time.”

From reading Mr. Musk’s texts, it’s clear he believes that Twitter’s leadership is weak and ineffective, and lacks the ability to carry out his vision for the company. If Mr. Agrawal doesn’t immediately resign once the deal is complete, I’d expect Mr. Musk to fire him on Day 1 and name himself or a close ally as a replacement.

Mr. Musk has also expressed displeasure with other Twitter executives, and it’s hard to see how he could fire Mr. Agrawal without also clearing out most or all of the company’s top leadership and installing his own slate of loyalists.