Jack Dorsey Thinks Musk Offers Twitter Needed “Cover”; Report Says Tesla Chief May Be Interim CEO
Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO still sits on the Twitter’s board but has attacked it as dysfunctional and had planned to leave at the annual meeting in late May when his term ends.
Dorsey today responded to tweets by Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner of investment firm Andreessen Horowitz. The firm agreed to invest $400 million in an Elon Musk-owned Twitter, one of 18 blue-chip backers the Tesla CEO lined up to help finance his bid, according to an SEC filing.
Horowitz said, “Twitter has great promise as a public square, it suffers from a myriad of difficult issues ranging from bots to abuse to censorship. Being a public company solely reliant on an advertising business model exacerbates all of these.” Then he added, “Elon is the one person we know and perhaps the only person in the world who has the courage, brilliance, and skills to fix all of these and build the public square that we all hoped for and deserve.”
“This is true. It needs cover for a while,” said Dorsey.
Musk intends to take the company private in order to put his stamp on the platform that he said should be freer, with less moderation of content. Last week, Dorsey called Musk “the singular solution I trust” to run Twitter. “I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.” He said then, “taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step.”
Twitter documented the exchange in another SEC filing Thursday.
Musk has offered to buy out existing stockholders for $54.20 a share in a deal worth about $44 billion. He unveiled the new financial commitments for over $7 billion from a group of investors that includes Larry Ellison, Fidelity, Sequoia Capital and cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
The filing said Musk is having discussions with some stockholders, specifically mentioning Dorsey, about the possibility of retaining “an equity investment in Twitter following completion of the Merger in lieu of receiving Merger Consideration in the Merger.”
One big investor, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who initially called Musk’s offer too low, will contribute his stake of 34.9 million shares (over 5% of the company) to the deal.
Separately, CNBC reported today that Musk is expected to serve as a temporary CEO of Twitter for a few months after the deal is done. Dorsey had been CEO until late November 2021 when he stepped down for current chief executive, Parag Agrawal.
Shares of Twitter were among the few gainers in a stock market bloodbath today, up 2.65%. (Tesla was down more than 8%.)