Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal and Chairman Bret Taylor told employees Monday that the social network will continue to operate as usual — including with Agrawal at the helm — until the deal to sell the company to Elon Musk for $44 billion closes later this year.
The deal was signed Monday morning, Agrawal told employees, adding that Musk’s transaction to take the company private could take as long as six months, according to two people with knowledge of the details of the meeting. The CEO told staffers there would be no job cuts “at this time”, and when asked about a possible workforce freeze, Agrawal said the company was still in the process of adopting workforce plans before the deal was officially closed.
Agrawal held an all-hands meeting via video Monday afternoon to discuss the Twitter board’s decision to sell the company to billionaire Tesla Inc. CEO explain. Musk, the world’s richest man, who plans to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share, was noticeably absent from the conversation. Agrawal was joined by Taylor, who is also co-CEO of Salesforce Inc. but no other board members were in attendance, including former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Twitter employees have been living in uncertainty for weeks since Musk announced his offer to take over the social networking service. Musk is an avid Twitter user, often criticizing the company from his Twitter account, and many people dismissed his early attempts to buy the company as some sort of joke. But Musk eventually got funding to close a deal, prompting the board to seriously consider his offer.
The twists and turns have left many employees confused and frustrated in recent weeks. Many internal employees strongly opposed a deal with Musk, fearing that Musk’s brash, combative style would damage the company culture and alienate some employees. An employee who spoke to Bloomberg estimated that only 10% of Twitter employees would be excited about Musk’s acquisition of the company.
In an email to employees earlier in the day, Agrawal noted that the deal is a “significant change and you’re probably processing what this means for you and the future of Twitter.” He reiterated at the meeting that the company is entering a period of uncertainty.
Musk has spoken out about his intention to make Twitter a haven for free speech, and has ridiculed the content moderation decisions the platform has made in the past. That has led to speculation that Musk-owned Twitter may be spreading more offensive or dangerous content on the site.
On Monday, Agrawal acknowledged that this will be Musk’s choice, saying the company is making decisions every day for the health of public conversation, according to a person on the phone. Once the deal is done, he told workers, he doesn’t know which way the platform will go.
Agrawal assured the employees that their stock exchanges, which can make up a large part of the compensation, will remain unconditional in the meantime. Taylor also spoke at the beginning of the conversation, explaining the fiduciary duty of the board. He said Twitter’s board would no longer exist after the deal is done.
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