Twitter’s problem is that it is fighting the wrong Musk persona

There is an unnerving predictability to how Elon Musk’s unsolicited offer to Twitter will turn out falling apart. Some users may have been enthusiastic about the idea, but tech commentators and investors on Twitter were skeptical from the start. Why wouldn’t they be? For the second time, Musk seemed to pull a 420 weed joke on the Internet in announcing a multi-billion dollar deal. Since the deal was agreed, Twitter’s share price has remained stubbornly below Musk’s $54.20 a share offer.

Much of this skepticism can be attributed to the fact that Musk is one of the most high-profile examples of someone with vastly different online and offline personas. The first time I listened to him speak at Tesla Investor call, I was surprised how soft and halting his voice could be. Watch his interview on the FT’s The future of the car Summit in May and you’ll see what I mean. He looks serious and kind. Every question, no matter how provocative, is answered thoughtfully and carefully. It’s not hard to believe that this is an entrepreneur who can get contracts with NASA at the same time, bend the global automotive industry to his will and provide financing for a huge social media deal.

On the Internet, however, he can be rude and combative. He has a weakness for memes, especially ones that include flattering pictures of him. Despite a deal forced by regulators to monitor his tweeting habits, the attacks keep coming. A sly joke about the USA ISA In 2020. a Chuck Norris Memes poke fun at a Twitter deal falling apart this month. Perhaps, mused Margins newsletter author Ranjan Roy, the Twitter buy was simply “crap performance art” — just a way to provoke a reaction.

Twitter’s problem is that it is fighting Musk’s online persona. Although it cost him a multi-million dollar fine and the role of chair at Tesla, unpredictability is also his strength.

Musk’s argument that he wants out of the deal because Twitter misrepresented the true number of spam or fake emails Accounts On its platform is not convincing. Twitter has always acknowledged that these calculations are difficult. Few expect Musk to win. But one of the questions being asked by commentators like Bloomberg’s Matt Levine is what might happen if he loses the case and refuses to comply. How will a Delaware court wrest money from a wayward billionaire?

This news will probably affect Twitter’s decision-making. The San Francisco company is suing Musk to force the $44 billion deal to go through. But investors, employees and the board may receive a smaller payout to settle the case and get rid of his attention.

To his online fans, brashness is part of Musk’s appeal. When he stated that he wanted to buy Twitter, he was not only a technology entrepreneur and the richest man in the world but also an Internet celebrity.

The problem, as any social media influencer knows, is that attention doesn’t always translate to financial success. Between the announcement of the deal and his attempt to close it, Musk’s online fame flourished. It is now the sixth most followed Twitter account in the world with more than 100 million followers. But in that time, his fortune, mostly tied up in Tesla stock, has fallen by more than $30 billion, according to The Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

This capital reversal follows the deal itself, which generated intense global interest but never made economic sense. Twitter may have business leaders, pop stars and politicians, but it’s struggling to monetize users. These users are also notorious complainers. One side laments that not enough is being done to censor offensive messages. The other shouts that his right to free speech is threatened. No wonder founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey had to take a quiet retreat.

Musk has always presented his interests as non-financial. “This is not a way to make money. It’s just that my strong and intuitive feeling is that having a public platform that is maximally reliable and broadly inclusive is extremely important for the future of civilization,” he said After the transaction is published.

But it’s hard not to worry about money when you suddenly have much less of it. Twitter claims that Musk began to oppose the deal when the market turned. Tesla shares that Musk planned to use lost more than a quarter of their value. A broad tech stock selloff plus uncertainty about the deal helped knock nearly $5 billion off Twitter’s valuation. If he still has more than 9% of the shares, that means Musk’s investment in the company has dropped by roughly $450 million.

Stuck in limbo, Twitter tries to roll out new features. The app now tweets when you refresh the feed. But it should focus on offering products that can improve the slump in digital advertising, not fight with a would-be buyer. Revenues in the second quarter decreased by 1 percent compared to the previous year. Justice Kathleen McCormick agrees that a quick conclusion is needed. If the Delaware court remains unaffected by Musk’s online jeans, that will be at least one point in Twitter’s favor.

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