Elon Musk’s July 8 decision to unilaterally pull out of Twitter’s $44 billion acquisition may have violated the terms of his acquisition agreement and stunned the general public. It also wreaked havoc in the ranks of Twitter.
“Twitter is a shit show internally; I can now confirm that for you without a doubt,” says a Twitter employee on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
They are far from alone in this view. “There’s no strong leadership at the moment,” says a second current Twitter contributor, also speaking anonymously. “The whole company is running on autopilot.” A third, who is about to leave the company, is also upset. “I expect it to be chaos,” they say. “I’d love to see someone hold Elon’s feet to the fire because I think it sets a risky precedent to allow him to meddle so much, take stocks down and then retire.”
Twitter employees have been told not to speak publicly about the acquisition on their own platform – and say they are being kept in the dark. “The management didn’t tell us anything,” says the first employee. Internal communication on the latest developments was limited to a message directing users to a tweet from company chairman Bret Taylor, who said Twitter’s board of directors is “obligated to complete the transaction at the price and terms agreed with Mr. Musk and plans to take legal action to enforce the merger agreement.”
Employees were asked not to add any comments of their own about what was going on at the company. “Every time I learn something on Twitter, I learn it on Twitter,” says the first employee. “I found out about the Musk news through friends, not through my own company — which has been a constant theme from the start.” Twitter declined to comment.
It looks like the mess is about to end up in court. Twitter has hired Delaware litigator firm Wachtell Lipton to ensure Musk keeps his end of the deal. At the time of his tweet, Taylor said he was “confident” the company would pull through. Former CEO and Chairman of Twitter Evan Williams has said he thinks Twitter should cut ties and “let this whole ugly episode pass.”
“This fiasco is a nightmare scenario for Twitter and will result in an Everest-like ascent for Parag [Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO] and Co. to master the countless challenges,” says Dan Ives, Managing Director at Wedbush Securities, a New York-based analyst firm. The challenges Twitter faces include employee turnover and low morale, problems related to advertising, a loss of credibility with investors due to the Yo-Yoing stock price, and harmful claims about fake accounts on the platform.