elon musk, twitter, social media, investment, social network, decentralization, m&a

Elon Musk. Source: a video screenshot, Elon Musk Zone / YouTube

Tesla chief and multi-billionaire Elon Musk is taking over Twitter for USD 54.20 a share, and has already received praise from Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey. Meanwhile, the Twitter-funded decentralized social media project bluesky says it will remain independent “no matter what happens.”

The deal between Musk and Twitter means that the social media giant will be taken off the public market and instead become one of the world’s most valuable privately-owned companies, with a valuation of USD 44bn.

At the same time, Musk has promised several major changes for the platform, including a greater emphasis on free speech, making Twitter’s algorithm open source, and potentially incorporating some form of payments, which may also include support for dogecoin (DOGE) or other cryptoassets.

Praising Musk in public, former Twitter CEO and bitcoin (BTC) advocate Jack Dorsey called Musk’s goal of creating a “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” social media platform “the right one.”

“This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart,” Dorsey said, adding: “I’m so happy Twitter will continue to serve the public conversation.”

Musk himself celebrated the deal by tweeting a screenshot detailing some of his plans for the social network:

Next steps

With the deal now done, the market is already speculating on what the next step may be for the company that, since Jack Dorsey’s departure in late 2021, has been led by CEO Parag Agrawal.

Among the many questions that the market is now asking is who will lead Twitter going forward. In his original offer document, Musk said: “I don’t have confidence in management.” 

The statement appears to have made an impact on Twitter’s current CEO, who told Twitter employees on Monday that the platform’s future is uncertain.

“Once the deal closes, we don’t know which direction the platform will go,” Reuters cited Agrawal as telling employees.

Still, it is widely believed that Musk himself, who already serves as the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, is too busy to take on another hands-on leadership role. Until another CEO is named, it is therefore likely that Agrawal will stay in his role.

bluesky to remain independent

Meanwhile, other parts of the ecosystem surrounding Twitter are also feeling a sense of uncertainty after the deal between Musk and Twitter went through.

Writing in a Twitter thread on Monday, bluesky, a research and development project focused on building a decentralized social network, stated that it is an independent company organized as a Public Benefit LLC, funded by Twitter. 

It further said that the funding from the start has only been subject to one condition: “that bluesky is to research and develop technologies that enable open and decentralized public conversation.”

“We’re using our freedom to focus on building, and will work towards our vision of a durable protocol for public conversation no matter what happens,” the company added.

Musk ‘coming back’ home

Commenting on the deal, Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, was quoted by TechCrunch as saying that Musk is now “coming back to where he started – back to software,” referring to the founding of PayPal at the start of Musk’s career.

He added that both shareholders and advertisers are likely to be happy with the outcome, and said that “a number of software innovations including an edit button, maybe threaded conversations and better business with moderation, audience management” can be expected.

On a similar note, Noah Smith, an economics columnist at Bloomberg and various other media outlets, said in a blog post that he is “cautiously optimistic” about Musk’s plans.

“The problems with Twitter are so deep and so difficult that only total control by a single individual has a realistic chance of solving them,” he wrote, before opining that “whatever [Musk] decides to do, he will probably be able to do it […]”

“So at least now we have a chance for positive change,” Smith argued.

According to Bloomberg, the takeover deal is still subject to review by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but the agency does not have the power to block the deal outright.

As of Tuesday at 10:20 UTC, Twitter shares were up 0.35% in pre-market trading to a price of USD 51.88 – still shy of Musk’s 54.20 agreed-upon buying price. At the same time, Musk’s favorite crypto DOGE was up 29% over the past 24 hours to USD 0.16.

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