According to reports, Elon Musk told banks that agreed to help fund his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) that he would cut executive and board pay at the social media company in an effort to cut costs, and that he would develop new ways to monetize tweets.
Musk made the pitch to lenders as he tried to arrange funding for the buyout days after submitting his bid to Twitter on April 14. His bank pledges, which he submitted on April 21, were crucial in Twitter’s board accepting his “best and last” bid.
Musk had to persuade the banks that Twitter’s cash flow was sufficient to service the loan he was seeking. In the end, he was able to acquire $13 billion in loans secured against Twitter, as well as a $12.5 billion margin loan secured against his Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) stock. He promised to pay the balance of the payment with his own money.
According to the sources, Musk’s pitch to the banks consisted of his vision rather than firm commitments, and the exact cost reduction he will seek once he controls Twitter are unknown. According to the sources, the proposal he detailed to banks was lacking in depth.
Musk has tweeted about cutting the wages of Twitter’s board directors, which he claims will save the company $3 million. According to corporate documents, Twitter’s stock-based compensation for the 12 months ended December 31, 2021 was $630 million, up 33% from 2020.
Musk also used Twitter’s gross margin, which is substantially lower than peers like Meta Platforms Inc’s (FB.O) Facebook and Pinterest (PINS.N), in his argument to the banks, claiming that this allows lots of room to run the company more cost-effectively.
According to Bloomberg News, Musk expressly highlighted job cutbacks in his pitch to the banks on Thursday. According to one of the insiders, Musk will not make any decisions about employment layoffs until he takes control of the company later this year. He moved ahead with the purchase despite not having access to private information about the company’s finances or headcount.
Musk offered a number of modifications to the social media giant’s Twitter Blue premium subscription service in a tweet earlier this month that he later deleted, including lowering the price, prohibiting advertising, and allowing users to pay in the cryptocurrency dogecoin. Blue, Twitter’s premium service, is now $2.99 per month.
According to the sources, Musk, whose net worth is estimated to be $246 billion, has suggested that he will assist the banks in marketing the syndicated loan to investors, and that he may provide further details of his Twitter business plan at that time.
Musk has also reportedly appointed a new Twitter CEO
He told Twitter’s chairman, Bret Taylor, earlier this month that he had lost faith in the company’s leadership in San Francisco. Parag Agrawal, who took over as Twitter’s CEO in November, is anticipated to stay on until Musk completes the purchase of the company.
Musk has received numerous bids from potential equity partners to join him in the Twitter transaction, and he will decide whether or not to collaborate with someone in the coming weeks. Given that the purchase is not structured as a standard leveraged buyout, Musk is unlikely to collaborate with a private equity company, the source noted.
Musk announced this week that he sold $8.5 billion worth of Tesla stock, presumably to help fund his Twitter acquisition. According to the sources, the Tesla CEO also told the banks that he will seek moderation practices on the social media platform that are as free as feasible within the legal limits of each jurisdiction in which Twitter operates, a view he has publicly stated.
The $13 billion loans is seven times Twitter’s estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation for the year 2022. Some banks decided to participate just in the margin loan because it was too risky, according to the sources.