Elon Musk paid a visit to Twitter’s headquarters ahead of an end-of-week deadline to close his deal to buy the company, posting a video of himself in the company’s San Francisco lobby carrying a sink.
“Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” he tweeted on Wednesday.
Musk also changed his Twitter profile to refer to himself as “Chief Twit” and his location as Twitter headquarters.
A court has given Musk until Friday to close an agreement to acquire the company, which would end months of turmoil after the billionaire agreed to buy the social network, then tried to back out.
Despite Musk’s splashy entry to headquarters, it wasn’t clear yet whether his purchase of Twitter had been finalized. Twitter confirmed to the Associated Press that Musk’s video tweet was real but wouldn’t comment further.
Reuters reported this week that Musk has notified investors involved in the deal that he plans to finalize the buyout by Friday’s deadline.
One of Musk’s biggest obstacles to closing the deal was keeping in place the financing pledged roughly six months ago. A group of banks, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, signed on earlier this year to loan $12.5bn of the money Musk needed to buy Twitter and take it private.
Solid contracts with Musk bound the banks to the financing, although changes in the economy and debt markets since April have likely made the terms less attractive. Musk even said his investment group would be buying Twitter for more than it’s worth.
Musk’s flirtation with buying Twitter appeared to begin in late March. That’s when Twitter said he contacted members of its board, including co-founder Jack Dorsey, and told them he was buying up shares and was interested in either joining the board, taking Twitter private or starting a competitor.
Then, on 4 April, he revealed in a regulatory filing that he had become the company’s largest shareholder after acquiring a 9% stake worth about $3bn.
At first, Twitter offered Musk a seat on its board. But six days later, CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted that Musk would not be joining the board after all. His bid to buy the company quickly followed.
When Musk agreed to buy Twitter, he inserted a “420” marijuana reference into his price of $54.20 per share. He sold roughly $15bn worth of shares in Tesla to help fund the purchase, then pulled together commitments for billions more from a diverse group of investors including Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.
Inside Twitter, Musk’s offer was met with confusion and falling morale, especially after Musk publicly criticized one of Twitter’s top lawyers involved in content-moderation decisions.
In July, Musk abruptly reversed course, announcing that he was abandoning his bid, claiming the company hadn’t been straightforward about its problem with fake accounts he dubbed “spam bots.” Twitter sued Musk in Delaware chancery court to force the deal through, accusing him of inventing an excuse to cover up buyer’s remorse.
Two weeks before a five-day trial was scheduled to begin, Musk changed his mind again, saying that he wanted to complete the deal after all.
Meanwhile, morale at the company appears to be sinking amid news that Musk plans to cut 75% of Twitter staff if he takes over. In a report compiled by Greg Larkin and Elizabeth Gafford by the invitation-only business membership network Punks and Pinstripes, around 530 employees have ditched the company in the last three months. The numbers reflect a 60% increase in the number of workers that left the company during the last quarter.
Nearly 30% of them went to work for Google or Meta, Business Insider reports. Others have gone on to work at other companies such as Pinterest, LinkedIn and TikTok.
“The bottom line here is that the uncertainty being generated by the fight between Elon Musk and Twitter is driving a lot of their top talent to other social media platforms … These people have options as to where they can go and they’re going,” Larkin told Business Insider.