Elon Musk will likely serve as a temporary CEO of Twitter after his $44 billion buyout is concluded. Precisely where Musk will take the company is currently unknown, though he did promise investors he would make Twitter a “magnet for talent.”
That Musk will lead the company, at least temporarily, was revealed to CNBC’s David Faber. A Thursday SEC filing revealed that the Tesla CEO secured about $7.14 billion in commitments from friends and other investors to buy the social media platform. According to Faber, Musk’s hand-picked group of financiers includes Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who is said to be offering up $1 billion. Jack Dorsey himself might back the deal, and negotiations are allegedly ongoing.
Reuters reported last month that the buyer had a CEO lined up for Twitter, citing a source “familiar with the matter.” Who that will be has yet to be revealed – unless, of course, Musk meant himself all along. Current CEO Parag Agrawal has only led the company since Dorsey stepped down last November.
“Once the deal closes, we don’t know which direction the platform will go,” Agrawal said at a company-wide town hall meeting last month, according to Reuters. Many have wondered what the future will bring for Twitter with Musk in charge, but the question Agrawal answered specifically had to do with whether Donald Trump would be allowed back on the platform. That certainly does seem to be expected, both by conservatives who look forward to an end to their time in Twitter jail and the liberals fretting over “hate speech” and “misinformation.”
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Once again citing familiar sources, Faber reported that the Tesla CEO told investors he felt Twitter’s EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margin was too low, and that he pledged to make the company a “magnet for talent.” It seems Agrawal is correct, at least in part: We don’t know where Twitter is headed. But whatever destination Musk has in mind, it seems, at least for a time, he intends to man the helm himself.