Twitter executives tell staff it won’t renegotiate sale price with Elon Musk

Social media group pushes back on claims that Musk was pausing the deal

Twitter executives told employees on Thursday that the $44 billion (€41.5 billion) deal to sell the company to billionaire Elon Musk is moving forward as planned, and that it won’t renegotiate the agreed-upon price of $54.20 per share.

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and head of policy, also told workers at an all-hands meeting that there was “no such thing as a deal being on hold”, according to people who attended the meeting. She was pushing back on claims from Mr Musk over the past week that he is pausing the deal while he learns more about the number of bots and spam accounts on the social-media service.

Other top Twitter executives, including chief executive Parag Agrawal and finance chief Ned Segal, also addressed employees.

The company-wide video call was intended for leadership to discuss the deal and provide more details following Twitter’s filing of its proxy statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which outlined the transaction’s history and terms.

Twitter stock jumped about 2 per cent on the news of the meeting, which was first reported by Bloomberg. Earlier the shares had declined by as much as 1.7 per cent.

Executives addressed a number of questions about the transaction, including whether Twitter would try and legally force Mr Musk to buy the company based on his agreement. Ms Gadde assured employees that Mr Musk must “do everything he can” to make sure he gets his financing in order, and that it’s possible Twitter could try and “enforce” the terms of the deal “if we ever needed to do that in a court”.

She added that getting to that step would be “pretty rare”. Mr Musk earlier this week suggested he would be interested in renegotiating his deal for Twitter.

The company’s stock is currently trading at $37.45 per share, well below the offer price. The all-hands assembly was the latest in a string of internal meetings intended to help employees better understand the sales process.

Mr Segal discussed the gap in Twitter’s stock price and Mr Musk’s offer, explaining to staff how this reflected some doubt that the deal would go through. He also said executives were still engaging with Mr Musk and his team, and working with them “regularly” throughout the process to prepare for the possibilty of Mr Musk taking over.

Mr Segal also discussed how Twitter’s board came to the decision to sell to Mr Musk, which included an analysis of Twitter’s business projections if a deal didn’t happen. Ms Gadde added that she believes Mr Musk will be able to vote his shares at Twitter’s annual shareholder meeting, which is scheduled for May 25th.

The shareholder vote on whether to approve the deal will take place at a later date.

Twitter has been in a state of limbo since the company’s board accepted an offer from Mr Musk in late April. Mr Musk has continued to criticise Twitter and its policies despite agreeing to the deal, and recently suggested the company was lying about the number of daily users that would be categorised as spam. He said the deal was “on hold” until he got more information.

After Mr Agrawal posted a long thread earlier this week explaining Twitter’s methodology for counting spam accounts, Mr Musk replied to the CEO with a poop emoji.

– Bloomberg