How Twitter workers are reacting to right now’s Elon Musk information

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Elon Musk is back, and now he wants to own Twitter again! Pleasant.

Right now let’s discuss concerning the backdrop towards which he made this choice, whether or not it’s one way or the other an extremely elaborate effort to get out of the deal, and what Twitter’s beleaguered workers are saying about it internally.

Did the information come as a shock? Positive, I suppose. The billionaire Tesla CEO has for months now remained uncharacteristically on message, holding quick to his assertion that the quantity of bots and spam on the platform must be cause sufficient for him to desert his deal. His authorized staff appeared buoyed by the late-breaking look of a whistleblower prepared to say that present-day Twitter poses a threat to national security, and amended its lawsuit towards the corporate in its third and presumably ultimate try and terminate the $44 billion acquisition.

I’ve adjusted my posture to count on nothing from Musk in any respect. I’m accomplished making predictions.

However this relative consistency is, on steadiness, an anomaly within the multiverse of insanity that’s Elon Musk’s emotions about Twitter, Inc.

In these early days of the story, I’d typically write right here that with regard to Musk, one ought to count on the sudden. Since then I’ve adjusted my posture to count on nothing from Musk in any respect. I’m accomplished making predictions. His has a whim-based model of management, and his whims comply with no sample that I can discern. The person signed a deal, spent months trashing it, did every little thing he may consider to get out of it, after which one Monday evening notified Twitter’s attorneys that he needed to signal it in any case. Anybody who tells you they will draw a straight line by these occasions is writing fan fiction.

But when I can not faux to attract a straight line right here, I can no less than supply a scatter plot.

Statement one: the previous week has been a tumultuous interval on-line, even for Musk. On Monday he tweeted a characteristically half-baked idea to end Russia’s war on Ukraine, which concerned Ukraine unilaterally surrendering a few of its territories, together with a yes-or-no ballot. “No” gained with 59.1 % of the vote, which Musk blamed on bots; extra embarrassingly, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany informed him to “fuck off.”

Days earlier, Musk had additionally discovered himself embarrassed by the disclosure of various texts sent to him by millionaires and billionaires offering advice, money, and other support as he sought to acquire Twitter. I’ll all the time bear in mind a handful of those texts — beginning with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff messaging Musk to say “Twitter conversational OS- the townsquare for your digital life” (???) — however the salient level is that discovery within the lawsuit had begun to blow again on him and his associates.

On its face these occasions may not be sufficient to get a person to spend $44 billion to take again management of the product and the narrative. However I wouldn’t guess my life on it.

Statement two: Musk’s authorized case wasn’t going effectively. If you happen to’re in search of the Occam’s razor rationalization for right now’s occasions, that is the one. Twitter’s attorneys had written an excellent merger settlement, and Musk signed it with out doing any due diligence. Like most US tech corporations, Twitter is headquartered in Delaware, which prides itself on adherence to the rule of legislation and the tidy disposal of merger disputes.

And as Jef Feeley, Ed Hammond, and Kurt Wagner notice at Bloomberg, in various pre-trial motions the Chancery Court judge kept siding with Twitter:

Musk’s authorized staff was getting the sense that the case was not going effectively, as Decide Kathaleen St. J. McCormick sided repeatedly with Twitter in pretrial rulings, in line with one individual acquainted. Even with the late emergence of a Twitter whistleblower who alleged executives weren’t forthcoming on safety and bot points, there have been issues Musk’s aspect wouldn’t be capable to show a fabric hostile impact, the authorized normal required to exit the contract.

Furthermore, Twitter had simply been granted the proper to look Musk’s messages to see whether or not the Twitter whistleblower, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, had contacted Musk earlier than he tried to again out of the deal, which can have raised some disagreeable new questions for each of them.

In any case, Twitter is suing to pressure Musk to shut the deal; confronted with probably defeat — and far embarrassment alongside the best way — he might have determined to capitulate.

However right here, too, there may be cause to be confused. Had Musk misplaced, he confronted two potential penalties. One is that the decide would have sided with Twitter and compelled him to purchase the corporate for $44 billion; the opposite, although, is that she would have sided with Twitter and compelled Musk to pay solely the $1 billion breakup payment stipulated within the merger settlement.

If you happen to’re Elon Musk, wouldn’t you roll the cube?

The latter choice may not have been terribly probably; as Matt Levine defined in July, it would be bad for the business world and the legal system that underpins it: “Letting the world’s richest individual get out of a deal for a nominal payment as a result of he acquired uninterested in it undermines the rule of legislation and the predictability of Delaware merger agreements.”

However should you’re Elon Musk, and you’ve got spent months criticizing Twitter’s executives, insurance policies, bots, safety, and so forth; and you could have misplaced a considerable portion of your private wealth resulting from a downturn within the markets; and mentioned downturn within the markets made the $44 billion you had provided for Twitter in April appear ridiculously excessive — effectively, wouldn’t you roll the cube? Wouldn’t the prospect at saving your self $43 billion justify a tough couple weeks in Delaware?

It will for me! And so perhaps that’s why I learn the letter Musk’s legal team sent Twitter with skepticism: the best way it asks the courtroom to remain or adjourn the trial earlier than a settlement is reached; the best way it declines to waive its capacity to sue if “Twitter fails or refuses to adjust to its obligations beneath the … merger settlement.” (Musk’s staff has been whining endlessly that Twitter is refusing to adjust to the settlement from the beginning as a option to delay the closing of the deal.)

Maybe that’s all simply normal authorized boilerplate. However it appears to me that if Musk was really ready to shut the deal, he would have labored with Twitter to place out a joint assertion indicating as a lot.

How will Twitter reply? “We obtained the letter from the Musk events which they’ve filed with the SEC,” the corporate informed me right now. “The intention of the corporate is to shut the transaction at $54.20 per share.”

It was all the time Twitter’s intention to shut at $54.20, in fact; if they’re to succeed in a brand new settlement with Musk in any case this, they may certainly search some new assurances from their owner-to-be. And the way Musk responds to that request, I feel, will inform us loads about how actual right now’s transfer actually is.

As common, the newest twist within the Musk saga landed hardest on Twitter’s workers. A lot of them have been 45 minutes right into a three-hour 2023 planning session, I’m informed, when information of Musk’s newest antics hit the timeline. Assembly adjourned, I assume!

Within the firm’s #stonks Slack channel, one worker was equally suspicious of Musk’s letter, in line with screenshots shared with Platformer. “I don’t perceive why Elon would want to suggest the deal once more,” they wrote. “The unique one nonetheless stands. Simply write the verify, bro.”

One other worker summarized the temper by saying that workers usually have a low opinion of Musk, and no matter goes to occur subsequent they might quite he and Twitter get on with it already.

On Blind, an app the place workers focus on their workplaces beneath pseudonyms, a ballot requested “what is going to you miss probably the most post-privatized Twitter?”

“I noticed the put up, thought ‘haha my job’ then noticed it was a ballot choice, so chosen it, however now realizing I gained’t miss the job I at the moment have,” one worker wrote, in line with screenshots. “I’ll and do miss my 2019/2020/2021 job, however I can’t miss my 2022 job.”

“Now time to exit the theme park and let the brand new proprietor raze it to the bottom”

“So true,” one other worker responded. “As dangerous as [former Twitter CEO] Jack [Dorsey] was at his job (perhaps due to it?) Twitter had the most effective cultures / [work-life balance] / advantages within the business beneath him. Learnt loads, met some superior people, loved the experience, now time to exit the theme park and let the brand new proprietor raze it to the bottom and construct what he desires (metaphorically).”

Value noting: Twitter saw attrition of more than 700 employees in latest months.

Staff additionally provided some reward for Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who has been largely silent because the authorized battle towards Musk started, however seems to have the higher hand for the second. (He’s set to receive $42 million assuming Musk fires him after taking on.)

“You simply accomplished the sport,” the worker wrote, in a put up headlined “Congratulations, Parag.” “You outmaneuvered Musk, got here out unscathed and hundreds of thousands of {dollars} richer. You’re beneath 40, have FU cash, and your popularity is essentially intact. You simply gained at life. Should respect that. And to anybody else: Don’t hate the participant. Hate the sport.”

— Zoe Schiffer contributed reporting to this column.

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