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Elon Musk joins Twitter all-hands meeting amid acquisition deal

Employees quizzed the world’s richest man on his plans for Twitter, nearly two months after he offered to buy the company.
Image: Elon Musk
Elon Musk speaks to media at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. on Oct. 10, 2019.Yichuan Cao / Sipa USA via AP file

Elon Musk joined an all-hands meeting at Twitter on Thursday morning, nearly two months after the Tesla CEO agreed to purchase the social media platform for approximately $44 billion.

Speaking remotely, Musk praised the Chinese social media and mobile payments app WeChat and TikTok as potential examples of his vision for Twitter, pointing out that the two apps have gained many millions of loyal users.

Two Twitter employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity so they could talk freely, said Musk's remarks Thursday did little to placate employees who view his arrival as a sea change for the company's culture.

One employee said there was anger at Twitter's board of directors for engaging with Musk's purchase offer, and worries about his demands at his other company, Tesla, that employees end remote work and come into the office.

Twitter shares closed Thursday down nearly 2 percent on the day amid a broader sell-off in markets.

The types of meetings like the one held Thursday are customary when a company is being bought. Musk had initially agreed to meet with Twitter employees in April when he was offered a seat on the social media company's board of directors after he bought a 9.2% stake in the business. That gathering never happened after Musk decided to buy Twitter instead.

Thursday's meeting comes amid questions about whether Musk would complete the acquisition. On May 13, Musk Tweeted that the deal was "on hold" while he sought additional information about fake and spam accounts on the platform. Since then, he has continued to insist that Twitter turn over information about the number of such accounts.

On June 8, the Washington Post reported Twitter planned to grant Musk access to its “firehose” of information showing account activity.

Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, Twitter said it intends to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement “at the agreed price and terms.” A company spokesperson declined to comment directly on the Washington Post report. 

Some analysts believe Musk isn’t actually after the bot account information, but simply wants to pay a lower price than the $54.20 per share he initially agreed to. Twitter’s current share price stands at $37; a rally that occurred just after Musk announced a large holding in the company proved short lived. 

Twitter has regularly disclosed its spam account estimates in filings, and Musk waived his right to learn more about the company when he made his $44 billion bid. 

One employee expressed doubt that others would want to continue working at Twitter under Musk's ownership.

"If anyone was on the fence before, waiting to hear him out, it’s safe to say they’re updating their resumes now," they said.