NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter’s board is recommending that shareholders approve the proposed $44 billion sale of the company to billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Musk reiterated his desire to move forward with the acquisition last week during a virtual meeting with Twitter employees, though shares of Twitter remain far below his offering price, signaling considerable doubt that it will happen.
Musk said Tuesday, while speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, that there were still some “unresolved matters” about the deal, according to The Hill, including the number of bots on the platform. Musk said he needed more data from the company about those bot accounts, despite the fact that Twitter has reported its bot estimates — and its admission that they may be too low — to investors for years.
Shares are up about 3% before the opening bell Tuesday, far short of the $54.20 per share that Musk has offered for each share.
Musk met virtually with the social platform’s employees on Thursday. According to multiple reports, he addressed possible layoffs at the company, saying that, right now, “costs exceed revenue. That’s not a great situation.”
He also touched on growth, saying he’d like to see Twitter reach a billion users — roughly four times its current user base ) and anonymity, where he earlier created a stir when he said he wants to “verify all humans” on the service. At the meeting, he clarified that this does not mean he wants to have everyone on Twitter use their real names, like on Facebook, since pseudonyms can allow people to express their political views freely, according to The New York Times.
One of Musk’s key points at the meeting was to make Twitter “so compelling that you can’t live without it,” Weinstein tweeted. Musk, who has more than 98 million followers on Twitter and is one of the platform’s most prolific users, also said that while some people “use their hair to express themselves, I use Twitter,” according to Nola Weinstein, Twitter’s global head of brand experiences and engagement.
Weinstein did not immediately respond to a message for further comment and she subsequently deleted all her tweets about the meeting. Twitter declined to comment.
Musk, according to multiple reports, also praised Chinese apps such as TikTok, which he said is good at keeping people engaged and not being “boring,” and WeChat, which he said could be a good model for what Twitter could be.
Twitter employees could have other reasons to be nervous about Musk’s impending takeover. The irascible billionaire has levied a barrage of criticism at the company, from its moderation and safety policies, which he terms a threat to “free speech,” to its anonymous user accounts, which he would like to eliminate, to its ban of former President Donald Trump, which he has pledged to reverse.
Musk has also targeted Twitter’s work-from-home policy, having once called for the company’s headquarters to be turned into a “homeless shelter” because, he said, so few employees actually worked there. The comment also served as a thinly veiled jab at San Francisco, which has a large homeless population. He said during Thursday’s meeting that he strongly favors working in person, according to Weinstein.