In an interview with BBC, Elon Musk revealed that he bought Twitter because he thought that the courts would force him to do so.
Musk has faced many lawsuits but eventually won them – including the class action lawsuit that a group of stockholders had filed over his controversial 2018 tweet about taking the company private.
Musk seldom shies away from controversies and has faced many legal battles over the last few years. However, many label him as “Teflon” Musk as he has prevailed in the legal battles.
He faced a suit over Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City but won the legal battle. British caver Vernon Unsworth also filed a defamation case against Musk when he called him a “pedo guy.” The jury eventually decided that Musk did not defame Unsworth.
In April last year, Musk proposed to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share – which valued the social media company at $44 billion.
Musk’s offer price was a massive premium to Twitter’s then price and in a typical “buyer’s remorse” he walked out of the deal.
Twitter meanwhile was in no mood to let the billionaire walk away easily and sued him for “specific performance” – and asked him to buy the company at original terms.
Musk justified his decision and said that Twitter had many more bot accounts than what it had disclosed. However, it became quite apparent that the Tesla CEO wanted to renegotiate the deal at favorable terms.
Musk Admits He Bought Twitter under legal Pressure
Now, in an interview with BBC – an organization that Twitter labeled “state-funded” only to change it to “publicly funded” recently – Musk has admitted that he bought Twitter as he thought courts would force him to do so.
It looked like a tough legal battle for Musk and most legal experts believed he stood little chance in the lawsuit. Musk agreed to buy the company at the original terms and settled the case.
During Tesla’s Q3 2022 call, Musk admitted that he overpaid for Twitter.
His Twitter acquisition meanwhile worked to the nemesis of Tesla stockholders and the stock plunged after Musk took the company private.
While Tesla stock fell to nearly $100 on the first trading day of 2023 it has since rebounded and with a YTD gain of 67%, it is among the top S&P 500 gainers this year.
- Read our guide on buying Tesla stock
Musk Previously Claimed to be a “Free Speech Absolutist”
When he officially bid for Twitter, Musk claimed that “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.”
He also stressed Twitter “will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form” – as he self-proclaimed himself as a “free speech absolutist.”
Meanwhile, not many of Musk’s actions would conform to free speech in a traditional sense including the recent throttling of the newsletter platform Substack.
Musk is also a self-proclaimed “dogefather” and is among the biggest backers of the meme cryptocurrency. In the interview, Musk also joked that his pet dog a Shiba Inu named Floki is now the company’s CEO.
Notably, dog-themed cryptos like dogecoin surged after Twitter replaced its icon from a bird with a dog.
- Read our guide on buying Dogecoin
Twitter Has Fired 80% of the Employees
Musk also said that Twitter now has around 1,500 employees which essentially means that it has laid off 80% of the employees.
Notably, when Musk was buying Twitter, he denied reports that he intends to lay off 75% of the company’s workforce – and later got into a spat with CNBC over the company’s headcount.
In the BBC interview, Musk said that when he acquired Twitter, the company had only about $1 billion in cash which would have lasted only about four months.
He said the layoffs were painful but emphasized “This is not a caring [or] uncaring situation. It’s like, if the whole ship sinks, then nobody’s got a job.”
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