Messages between Elon Musk, Twitter execs and close friends shed light on how the deal might wind up in court.
A new batch of text messages between the CEOs of Elon Musk and Twitter Inc. Close friends, potential investors and the Silicon Valley brothers shed light on how a $44 billion deal by the world’s richest person to buy the social media company happened – and ended up in court.
The texts show who wanted to be a part of the acquisition and reveal inner circle musings about who should run the company if Musk owned it. It was revealed as part of Twitter’s lawsuit to make Musk pursue his $54.20 per share offer, which is due to go to trial in Delaware Chancery Court next month.
Among the numerous texts, Musk reveals he “had a secondary case of Covid” in late March, usually “until 3 am” and no longer had a personal assistant.
Here are 10 behind-the-scenes glimpses.
1. Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, persuaded Musk to join the board shortly after activist investors began agitating for change at the company in 2020.
“I tried really hard to get on the board, but the board said no,” Dorsey wrote. “That’s when I decided I needed to work to leave, as it was hard for me.”
Dorsey is “Jack Jack” on Elon’s phone.
2. Musk’s relationship with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal went from cordial to frosty within a week. On April 5, Agrawal wrote on Twitter that Musk had been appointed to Twitter’s board of directors – and had Musk’s approval of the tweet’s language.
But by April 9, the tone had changed dramatically. Agarwal criticized Musk for his tweets disparaging the company.
You are free to tweet ‘Is Twitter dying’ or anything else Twitter-related – but it’s my responsibility to tell you that it’s not helping me improve Twitter in the current context. I’d like to give your perspective on the level of internal distraction right now and how it’s done [sic] It hurts our ability to do work.”
“What did you do this week?” Musk turned back.
“I am not joining the board of directors. This is a waste of time,” he wrote 40 seconds later.
“I’m going to make an offer to take Twitter private,” he wrote 15 seconds later.
3. A few minutes later, Musk sent a text message to President Brett Taylor about fixing Twitter. The texts indicate that he already knew about the Twitter bot issue, which he would later cite as a reason to abandon the deal.
“It’s hard to do as a public company, because purging fake users will make the numbers look horrible, so it needs to be restructured as a private company,” Musk wrote. “That’s Jack’s opinion, too.”
Read more: Twitter invites Musk to ‘a story made for litigation’
4. On April 20, Musk sent a text message to Larry Ellison of Oracle.
“Any interest in participating in the Twitter deal?” Asked. Ellison said: Yes. Musk asked how much.
“A billion…or whatever you recommend,” Ellison replied. Musk recommended $2 billion. On April 24, Ellison said, “Since you think I should come in for at least $2 billion… I’ll get $2 billion.”
5. Many of Musk’s friends had ideas about who Musk should hire. Investor Bill Lee suggested Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley. “Twitter CEO is my dream job,” Jason Calacanis noted.
6. JOE ROGAN WAS A FAN OF THE DEAL. “I really hope you get on Twitter,” the mega podcast publisher wrote. “If you do, we should throw a party in hell.”
Read more: Musk sought ‘Trump’ word to prove fake Twitter accounts
7. Steve Jurvetson suggested that Musk hire Emil Michael, former chief business officer of Uber Technologies Inc. and send a text message to Michael’s LinkedIn account.
Musk replied, “I don’t have a LinkedIn account.”
8. CBS’ Gayle King asked Musk for an interview in April, saying that buying Twitter is what kids call a “gangster movement” and suggesting Oprah Winfrey might want to join the board. King said she wanted the Twitter edit button.
“The Twitter edit button is coming,” Musk replied.
9. Musk warned Calacanis against offering Randos the investment in the deal.
It “makes it sound like I’m desperate,” he said.
Calacanis said he just wanted to be supportive: “You know I have it or I die, brother.”
Read more: Twitter earns more than Musk with its fast-tracked October beta
10. In March, crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried attempted to contact Musk through a colleague to discuss joining a deal on Twitter. Musk seemed unconcerned—and unaware of Bankman-Fried’s wealth, asking, “Does he have so much money?”
Finally, get ready for the thought, “As long as I don’t have to have a hard discussion about blockchain.”
It is unclear whether they met.
The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).
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