Elon Musk admitted he has a bit of buyer’s remorse over his $44 billion acquisition deal for Twitter — but the mercurial mega-billionaire believes the social network will be worth far more in the future.
On Tesla’s third-quarter 2022 earnings call Wednesday, Musk commented, “Although, obviously, myself and the other investors are obviously overpaying for Twitter right now, the long-term potential for Twitter in my view is an order of magnitude greater than its current value.”
Musk added that he’s “excited about the Twitter situation”: “I think it’s massive that this sort of languished for a long time, but has an incredible potential.”
Twitter shares closed at $51.83/share Wednesday, giving it a market cap of about $40 billion. That’s under the $54.20/share that Musk said earlier this month that he will pay (as originally agreed in April) — after the world’s richest individual spent three months trying to back out of the pact. Twitter had sued Musk, seeking to enforce the terms of the merger agreement. The Delaware Chancery Court judge overseeing the case granted Musk’s motion to halt the trial until Oct. 28 to let him secure the debt financing he needs to close the deal.
It’s not clear what specific changes Musk will make at Twitter, but he’s suggested layoffs are in the offing. The tech mogul also has floated ideas like authenticating all Twitter users and charging businesses a fee to use the social network. In addition, Musk has said he wants to make Twitter adhere to principles of “free speech” — and has accused the company of censoring conservatives. Liberal advocates are worried the right-leaning Musk may roll back Twitter’s policies restricting hate speech and misinformation.
In Musk’s first comment after his decision to proceed with the $44 billion Twitter buyout, he cryptically tweeted on Oct. 4, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” He didn’t elaborate, but Musk previously praised apps like TikTok and WeChat as models for what Twitter should become.
On the Telsa call Wednesday, Musk was asked whether he might combine Twitter with his other companies — including Tesla, SpaceX, the Boring Co. and neuro-tech company NeuraLink — under one holding company, a la Alphabet (Google’s parent). He said there’s no obvious reason to do so right now, “It’s not clear to me what the overlap is. It’s not zero, but it’s… I think we’re reaching,” Musk said.
Tesla, which represents the bulk of Musk’s net worth, reported record revenue of $21.5 billion for Q3, up 56% year over year, and nearly $3.3 billion in net income. The top-line results fell short of Wall Street expectations and Telsa said it expects to end the year just short of its 2022 target of increasing vehicle deliveries by 50%; the stock was trading down more than 3% midmorning Thursday.
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