After the news spread that Elon Musk offered to acquire Twitter for $43 billion on Thursday, a wave of employee discontent and fear swept through the social media platform. Twitter workers became fearful that their future is not assured at the company, and others said Musk’s leadership style does not align with the core values of the microblogging website.
After the tech billionaire offered to pay $54.20 per share to buy up Twitter, CEO Parag Agrawal who came into the saddle in December 2021 held a meeting with Twitter’s 7,500 full-time employees. He assured workers that the company’s culture would remain intact under Musk, and even said he might organize a town hall meeting, so employees could ask him and the billionaire any questions they had.
After Musk purchased 9.2% of Twitter to emerge as the largest shareholder in the organization, he said he would join its board of directors. Agrawal made the announcement to the staff, but Musk was volte-faced and declined to join the board – to the relief of some workers. But when he threatened to either acquire the company for $43 billion and then privatize the company, or reconsider his shareholding position in the company if his bid is declined, fears spread.
Apart from the fact that the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX frequently trolls Twitter and bullies the company with controversial tweets before joining the organization, Musk had been marked as having disregard for gender pronouns as they concern the LGBT community, peddled COVID-19 misinformation, and caused Tesla to be the target of multiple lawsuits for allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
Although Twitter may be forced to change its strategies if Musk acquires the company, the widespread employee discontent might be one of the factors its board will consider in considering the billionaire’s acquisition bid. Industry analysts said Twitter may undergo a major shake-up if Musk buys the company, and many employees may leave out of fear of discrimination and harassment, among other concerns.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Musk said he would take Twitter private to protect free speech. With his more than 81 million Twitter followers, Musk once stated that he could take Tesla, private, at $420 per share and that he had the funding ready – a 420 slang reference to marijuana that some people do not understand.
“I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” he said. “I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”
Fearing that the board may not sell the company to him, Musk stated that it would “be utterly indefensible not to put this offer to a shareholder vote. If the current Twitter board takes actions contrary to shareholder interests, they would be breaching their fiduciary duty.”