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Elon Musk calls himself ‘Chief Twit’, visits Twitter headquarters with closing deal

Elon Musk calls himself ‘Chief Twit’, visits Twitter headquarters with closing deal

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SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk is on his way to buy Twitter. This time for real.

The world’s richest person appeared at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday for meetings with executives and changed his was on Twitter for “Chief Twit.”

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

Twitter shares closed at $53.35 – just below Musk’s offer of $54.20, signaling the market believes it will go through as well.

That’s a far cry from just a few weeks ago, when Twitter and Musk were locked in a lawsuit after the Tesla CEO tried to back out of his deal to buy the social media company, citing problems with spam and bots.

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On his Twitter account on Wednesday, Musk praised the company’s capacity to enable “citizen journalism” and said entities like local news organizations “should get a lot more attention” 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 encouraging employees to “say hello,” according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post.

Musk later tweeted a video of himself 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 company-wide communication saying Musk would address the company on Friday.

On internal Slack channels, Twitter employees posted videos of Musk touring the office, greeting workers and asking them what they thought of various Twitter products, such as the Twitter Blue subscription service the company is currently 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 lay off 75 percent of his staff.

The Post reported last week that Musk outlined plans to lay off nearly three-quarters of Twitter’s staff as it seeks to implement aggressive cost-cutting and loosen the site’s content moderation standards. Musk said he doesn’t plan to.

Musk is financing much of the business through debt from a group of seven major banks. Spokesmen for BNP Paribas and Societe Generale did not respond to a request for comment. Spokesmen for Bank of America, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Mizuho and MUFG declined to comment.

Musk’s team pitched investors over the weekend, the people said, as they tried to reduce his financial burden in the deal.

Musk changed his mind about whether to buy the company after a series of losses in Delaware Chancery Court on scheduling and disclosure issues, according to people close to Musk and his team. Loss became a serious possibility if the matter went to trial, risking fines that exceeded just the cost of the purchase. And the hits to Tesla’s stock and Musk’s net worth have become a lingering concern.

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

Elon Musk has reversed course and made a proposal to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share, according to an Oct. 4 regulatory filing. (Video: Reuters)

The documents detail plans to destroy Twitter’s workforce

Musk also took comfort in his debt and equity, which locked him into the business on favorable terms that might not otherwise have been available, the people said. And he became excited about 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, for experts who could help Twitter turn its fortunes around, the people said.

Gerrit De Vynck and Elizabeth Dwoskin contributed to this report.





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