Elon Musk plans layoff at Twitter before Nov 1, seeks staffers' list: Report

 Elon Musk has planned to begin laying off employees at Twitter, according to a media report, days after he completed the $44-billion acquisition of the social media company.

IMAGE: Twitter logo and a photo of Elon Musk are displayed through magnifier in this illustration taken October 27, 2022. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters

The New York Times reported that Musk “planned to begin laying off workers” at Twitter as soon as on Saturday.

Citing people with knowledge of the situation, the report said that some managers were being asked to "draw up lists of employees to cut.”

Ahead of Musk's acquisition of Twitter, reports were circulating that he will cut headcount, with some reports saying 75 percent of the workforce at the company could be laid off.

“Musk, who completed a $44-billion deal to buy Twitter on Thursday, has ordered the cuts across the company, with some teams to be trimmed more than others,” the NYT report said, adding that the “scale of the layoffs could not be determined” at the company, which has around 7,500 employees.

The NYT report said that the layoffs at Twitter “would take place before” the November 1 date when “employees were scheduled to receive stock grants as part of their compensation.

Such grants typically represent a significant portion of employees' pay. By laying off workers before that date,” Musk “may avoid paying the grants.”

Musk has told investors that he “would take Twitter private, reduce its workforce, roll back its content moderation rules and find new revenue streams.”

"Fresh baked bread & pastries are some of the great joys of life. Finally, the truth that carbs are amazing can be said on this platform!" with the hashtags "so brave" and "free speech,” he tweeted on Saturday.

Musk has said the social media company will form a “content moderation council” and any major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen after such a body has convened.

“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” Musk tweeted on Friday, a day after he completed the $44 billion-dollar acquisition of the social media company.

“To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter's content moderation policies,” he added.

CEO Parag Agrawal, legal executive Vijaya Gadde, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and General Counsel Sean Edgett were ousted as Musk's acquisition was completed.

Within hours of taking over the reins at Twitter, the Tesla CEO posted a series of tweets.

“The bird is freed”, “Spoiler Alert. Let the good times roll”, “Living the Dream. Comedy is now legal on Twitter”.

Agrawal, 38, was appointed Twitter CEO in November last year after the social media site's co-founder Jack Dorsey had stepped down.

As the Twitter account of former US President Donald Trump was permanently suspended in January last year, Hyderabad-born Gadde was at the forefront of this dramatic decision undertaken within days of the attempted insurrection by pro-Trump supporters at the US Capitol.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone thanked Agrawal, Segal, and Gadde for their "massive contribution" to the business.

"Thank you to @paraga, @vijaya, and @nedsegal for the collective contribution to Twitter. Massive talents, all, and beautiful humans each!" Stone tweeted.

Musk arrived at the company's headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday and had been meeting with engineers and advertising executives.

He also updated his Twitter description to “Chief Twit.”

The billionaire has promised to transform Twitter by loosening the service's content moderation rules, making its algorithm more transparent, and nurturing subscription businesses, as well as laying off employees.

In April, Twitter accepted Musk's proposal to buy the social media service and take it private.

However, Musk soon began sowing doubt about his intentions to follow through with the agreement, alleging that the company failed to adequately disclose the number of spam and fake accounts on the service.

When Musk said he was terminating the deal, Twitter sued the billionaire, alleging he “refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.”

Earlier in October, Musk said he wanted to pursue his acquisition of Twitter at the original price of $54.20 a share if the social messaging service dropped its litigation.

Twitter's lawyers said that the Tesla CEO's “proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.”

A Delaware Chancery Court judge eventually ruled that Musk had until October 28 to cement the Twitter deal or head to trial.

On Thursday, Musk wrote a message to reassure advertisers that social messaging services wouldn't devolve into “a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk said in the message.

“There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into the far-right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society,” he added.

Musk & Agrawal appeared to first talk in March

Elon Musk
Elon Musk. 
Susan Walsh/AP

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk started buying Twitter stock on an almost-daily basis in January.

By the spring, Musk had accumulated a 9.2% share in Twitter, making him its biggest shareholder. Shortly after, it was revealed that Musk was going to join its board.

Messages between Musk and Agrawal were released in September as part of a lawsuit Twitter filed against Musk.

"Hey Elon - great to be connected directly. Would love to chat," Agrawal said in a message to Musk on March 27.

Musk, Agrawal, and Twitter chair Bret Taylor met for a meal near San Jose on March 31.

"Great dinner :)," Musk messaged after.

"Memorable for multiple reasons," Agrawal texted. "Really enjoyed it."

Agrawal called Musk "both a passionate believer and intense critic" of Twitter

SUN VALLEY, IDAHO - JULY 07: Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter, walks to a morning session during the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 07, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho. The world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, and technology will converge at the Sun Valley Resort this week for the exclusive conference.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

"I'm super excited about the opportunity and look forward to working closely and finding ways to use your time as effectively as possible to improve Twitter and the public conversation," Agrawal texted on April 3.

Agrawal announced publicly that Musk was joining the board in a tweet on April 5, saying that Musk was "both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term."

Agrawal warned Musk that not all Twitter staff liked him

A picture of Elon Musk from the shoulders up. He's wearing a black t-shirt and clasping his left hand to his head with a calm expression on his face.
Adrees Latif/Reuters

On April 7, Agrawal asked Musk to speak to Twitter staff and answer questions on "the future of Twitter and why it matters." He warned Musk that there would also be some questions "from people who are upset that you are involved and generally don't like you for some reason."

"I think there is a large silent majority that is excited about you bringing [sic] on the board," Agrawal later added.

Musk texted Agrawal saying that he had a "ton of ideas" for the platform, and Agrawal seemed eager to listen.

"I want to hear all the ideas — and I'll tell you which ones I'll make progress on," Agrawal responded.


Musk asked whether Twitter was "dying" and then U-turned on joining its board

Elon Musk speaks at an oil and gas conference in Stavanger, Norway on Monday.

It didn't take long for the relationship to sour.

Musk tweeted on April 9 that some of Twitter's most-followed accounts "tweet rarely and post very little content." "Is Twitter dying?" he asked.

Agrawal understandably didn't like the tweet.

"You are free to tweet 'is Twitter dying?' or anything else about Twitter — but it's my responsibility to tell you that it's not helping me make Twitter better in the current context," Agrawal texted Musk later that day.

"What did you get done this week?" Musk replied less than two minutes later in a string of texts. "I'm not joining the board. This is a waste of time. Will make an offer to take Twitter private."

"Can we talk?" Agrawal replied. Musk didn't appear to respond to him, per the message logs published as part of the lawsuit, but he did reply to a message from Taylor and told him that Twitter needed "drastic action."

Agrawal said it was "for the best" Musk didn't join Twitter's board

Twitter logo on building
Tayfun Coskun/Getty Images

Two days after those messages were sent, Agrawal announced that Musk would no longer be joining the board.

"I believe this is for the best," Agrawal said.


Musk said he wasn't confident about Twitter's management

Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Musk made an offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share in cash, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on April 13 revealed.

In the filing, Musk showed his lack of support for Agrawal's leadership.

"If the deal doesn't work, given that I don't have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder," he wrote in the filing.

Without the changes Musk sought, Twitter was "simply not a good investment," he wrote.

Twitter agreed to the deal on April 25.


It was "clear" Musk and Agrawal couldn't work together, former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey said

jack dorsey
Rolf Vennenbernd/Getty Images

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acted as a mediator during a phone call between Agrawal and Musk on April 26.

Musk texted Dorsey afterward, saying that Agrawal was "moving far too slowly and trying to please people who will not be happy no matter what he does."

"At least it became clear that you can't work together," Dorsey replied. "That was clarifying."

Musk accused Agrawal's lawyers of trying to "cause trouble"

Elon Musk.
Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

Musk texted Agrawal Twitter CFO Ned Segal on June 28 after they requested information about the status of Musk's financing for the deal.

"Your lawyers are using these conversations to cause trouble," Musk texted, legal filings reveal. "That needs to stop."

Musk and Agrawal clashed repeatedly over bots

Elon Musk
Alex Kantrowitz

Musk has repeatedly expressed concerns about the number of bot accounts on the platform.

In May, Musk appeared to be hesitant about the Twitter deal, tweeting that he'd put it "on hold" until Twitter gave him more data related to the number of bots on the platform. He also told his lawyers to "slow down" the deal, text messages show.

Twitter says bots make up less than 5% of the platform's 238 million monetized daily active users. Research by the digital-intelligence provider Similarweb backs up these claims but found that because these accounts tweet so much, between 20% and 29% of US Twitter content is generated by spam accounts.

Agrawal posted a thread on Twitter explaining why Musk's plan to survey the number of bots on the platform was flawed. Musk responded to the thread with a poop emoji.


Musk backtracked on the deal

Elon Musk's Twitter account with Twitter logo.
Getty Images

In July, Musk sent a letter to Twitter terminating the deal, claiming that the social media giant had withheld or distorted data on the number of bot accounts on the platform.

In some cases, Twitter had refused to share data, while in others it gave him "incomplete or unusable information," Musk's lawyers said.

Twitter then sued Musk

Elon Musk grimaces while looking off to side against black backdrop
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Within days of Musk terminating the deal, Twitter sued him to force him to complete the deal, accusing him of "refusing to honor his obligations."

Musk countersued Twitter

elon musk
Yasin Ozturk/Getty Images

Musk countersued later in July, alleging that the company intentionally miscounted the number of spam accounts as part of what he called "its scheme to mislead investors about the company's prospects."

Musk is still adamant Twitter is lying about the number of bots on the platform

Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala.
Andrew Kelly/Reuters

In August, Musk called on Agrawal to take part in a "public debate" about the percentage of bots on the platform. 

"Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!" Musk wrote. 

Musk eventually agreed to go ahead with the $44 billion deal

Twitter Headquarters is seen in San Francisco, California, United States on September 27, 2022.
Ayfun Coskun/Getty Images

After months of Musk trying to abandon the deal, his lawyers sent Twitter a letter renewing the original offer on October 4.

Musk and Twitter came close to agreeing on a deal at a roughly 8% discount for the tech mogul, sources told Insider.

But the talks fell through after the two sides clashed, with Musk's attorney saying that Twitter's executives and the board wanted "all kinds of things" in the renegotiated deal that the billionaire refused to accept.

Musk quickly fired Agrawal after taking control of Twitter on Thursday night

twitter parag agrawal
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The deal finally went through on Thursday evening, just hours before the October 28 deadline given to Musk by the court.

One of the tech mogul's first moves was to fire Agrawal. The same evening, Musk also ousted CFO Ned Segal, chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel Sean Edgett, sources told Insider.

Agrawal will walk away with a big check

parag agrawal twitter CEO headshot
Parag Agrawal is Twitter's new CEO. 

Agrawal joined Twitter as a software engineer in 2011 and became chief technology officer in October 2017 following the departure of Adam Messinger. 

He was appointed CEO in November 2021 after Jack Dorsey stepped down. 

While the 38-year-old only ran for less than a year, he will walk away with a payout of $38.7 million, according to regulatory filings.

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