Elon Musk dubs himself ‘Chief Twit,’ visits Twitter HQ with deal set to close

Elon Musk dubs himself ‘Chief Twit,’ visits Twitter HQ with deal set to close


SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk is on track to buy Twitter. For real this time.

The world’s richest person showed up at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday for meetings with executives and changed his bio on Twitter to “Chief Twit.”

The moves signal the $44 billion deal is on track to close this week, something echoed by people close with Musk who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Financing is lining up to finalize the deal.

Twitter’s stock closed at $53.35 — just under Musk’s offer of $54.20, signaling the market believes it will go through, too.

It’s a far cry from just a few weeks ago, when Twitter and Musk were locked in litigation after the Tesla chief executive attempted to back out of his deal to acquire the social media company, citing problems with spam and bots.

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On his Twitter account Wednesday, Musk praised the company’s capacity for enabling “citizen journalism,” and said entities such as local news organizations “should get way more prominence” on the site.

Twitter’s chief marketing officer, Leslie Berland, sent an email to staff Wednesday morning saying Musk would be in the San Francisco offices and encouraged employees to “say hi,” according to a copy viewed by The Washington Post.

Musk later tweeted a video of him walking into the company’s reception area, carrying a sink to indicate that the reality of his ownership should “sink in.”

Twitter spokeswoman Rebecca Hahn confirmed a companywide communication that said Musk would address the company on Friday.

On internal Slack channels, Twitter employees posted videos as Musk made his rounds in the office, greeting workers and asking them what they thought of different Twitter products, such as the subscription service Twitter Blue that the company is currently beta-testing.

“This is a sweet office,” he said in one clip described to The Post. In another, about 25 people gathered around him and asked questions, including whether he really planned to fire 75 percent of the staff.

The Post reported last week that Musk laid out plans to lay off nearly three-fourths of Twitter’s staff as he seeks to implement aggressive cost-cutting and loosen the site’s content moderation standards. Musk said he didn’t plan to do so.

Musk is funding a large portion of the deal through debt from a group of seven major banks. Spokespeople for BNP Paribas and Societe Generale did not respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for Bank of America, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Mizuho and MUFG declined to comment.

Musk’s team was pitching investors throughout the weekend, the people said, as they looked to lessen his financial burden in the deal.

Musk shifted his opinion on whether to buy the company after a series of losses in Delaware Chancery Court in matters related to scheduling and discovery, according to the people close to Musk and his team. A loss became a serious possibility if the matter went to trial, risking penalties beyond merely the buying cost. And the blows to Tesla’s stock and Musk’s net worth became a lingering concern.

Musk acknowledged to overpaying for the site during Tesla’s earnings call last week.

Elon Musk reversed course and made a proposal to acquire Twitter at $54.20 a share, according to a legal filing on Oct. 4. (Video: Reuters)

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Musk also took solace in his debt and equity commitments, which locked him into the deal on favorable terms that might not be otherwise available, the people said. And he became excited by his plans for the site.

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The initial phase of his ownership will focus on talent — and Musk is expected to look to his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX, to seek out specialists who might help Twitter reverse its fortunes, the people said.

Gerrit De Vynck and Elizabeth Dwoskin contributed to this report.

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