Elon Musk to reiterate desire to own Twitter at Thursday meeting

Elon Musk to reiterate desire to own Twitter at Thursday meeting

Elon Musk is expected to confirm his desire to own Twitter Inc.

TWTR 2.07%

when he speaks to employees at the social media company on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The billionaire Tesla Inc.

The chief executive is expected to answer pre-submitted questions from employees for about an hour in a virtual all-hands meeting on Twitter Thursday morning West Coast time, the person said. In addition to reiterating his interest in owning the company and his view of its importance in the world, Musk will likely clarify recent comments about remote work and address aspects of his Twitter strategy, including the role of advertising and subscriptions.

Musk caused controversy earlier this month when he told employees at Tesla and SpaceX, his space exploration company, to spend 40 hours a week in the office and suggested that those who did not find employment elsewhere. If the matter comes up, he must tell Twitter employees that the comments mainly apply to certain executives and that many of his companies’ engineers already work remotely, which he accepts.

While Musk has criticized Twitter for being too reliant on advertising, he is expected to emphasize that the company must have multiple sources of revenue, with advertising and subscriptions in between, the person said.

The plans of the always unpredictable Mr. Musk may still change and the Q&A format may lead you to expand on these and other topics. Other issues employees focused on include how Musk plans to police harassment if he eases Twitter censorship, as he said he wants, as well as potential job cuts.

Musk has been keeping Twitter and Wall Street officials on edge over whether he will fulfill his $44 billion purchase of the social media platform.

This caused the spread between the company’s share price and the purchase price of $54.20 per share to widen, reflecting fears that the deal would fall apart. Twitter stock closed Wednesday at $37.99.

Since agreeing to the settlement in April, he has questioned Twitter’s estimate of how many of its users are bots and last week threatened to end the transaction in a letter accusing the company of failing to comply with his request for data on spam accounts. Twitter at the time said it was continuing to share information with Musk and that it planned to enforce the merger deal.

Earlier, Musk dropped a plan to rely on margin loans backed by his Tesla shares and raised the capital he is putting into the business, a move some saw as a step forward.

Twitter, which has estimated that no more than 5% of its daily active users are bots, is in the process of gaining access to expanded data for its team to review. Meanwhile, his team has been working closely with Twitter executives as they develop a business plan.

It was unclear how much time, if any, Musk will spend on the bot issue on Thursday.

While his appearance at the meeting suggests a compromise with the deal, it’s still possible he might try to renegotiate with Twitter later in the process, after his team has analyzed the data. Twitter has the right to sue you to enforce the current agreement.

Twitter is aiming to schedule a shareholder vote on the deal later this summer and close it shortly thereafter, assuming everything goes according to plan.

write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

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