Share this post on:



(SINGING) “When you walk in a room, do you have sway?”

[MUSIC]

kara swisher

I’m Kara Swisher, and you’re listening to “Sway.” Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter has been a big case of hurry up and wait. The saga started in April when Musk announced he’d accumulated an almost 10 percent stake in the company and was invited to join Twitter’s board.

That seemed nice, but Musk had bigger plans. He made a bid to buy the company outright in a deal valued at $44 billion, which, by the way, was a lot more than the company was publicly worth. There was drama, including a back and forth where Twitter invoked a, quote, “poison pill” to avoid a would-be hostile takeover.

But by May, everyone seemed to have settled down and the deal looked like a go. Of course, Musk is never done. And now it seems he’d like to put the deal on ice or at least get a better price.

I wanted to make sense of where the deal is and where it may be headed, so I invited my guests today, journalist Kevin Roose and William Cohan. Kevin is a tech columnist for The New York Times and Bill is a numbers geek and reporter for Puck News, who I think has done some of the best analysis of the potential deal or disaster of the century.

Kevin, Bill, welcome to “Sway.”

bill cohan

Great to be here. Thank you. KEVIN Roose: Yeah, thanks.

kara swisher

So Bill, let’s start with you. Put where the deal is — take a step back and start with the acquisition offer. Break down the offer and also the key terms, because Elon kind of agreed to buy a house without an inspection, I think that’s how Alex Stamos put it to me.

bill cohan

Yes, that’s correct. He signed a merger agreement on April 25 to pay $54.20 in cash to Twitter’s shareholders, obviously excluding himself. He owns 9.1 percent. So that’s a $44 billion cash outlay, Kara. He got $13 billion of senior debt commitments. He then got a margin loan for another $12 or $13 billion or so, which has since disappeared. And then the rest, which initially was going to be about $20 billion of his own equity or equity that he could raise, has now been revised upward to $33 billion of equity, which has to be an absolute record for one individual to pledge to a single deal. And it makes this deal no longer what one would consider a typical going private leveraged buyout, because it’s like basically two-thirds equity now. So that’s what he’s committed to. And by God, he signed a merger agreement. And his outs are very few, although he can probably manufacture some if he wants to. And if he tries to get out of it, as the Twitter board said, they’re going to enforce the agreement. So that’s fighting terms in M&A land for lawsuits. So that’s what he’s faced with.”

kara swisher

All right, Elon said he put the deal on hold. There’s no such thing, is that correct?

bill cohan

Oh, there’s no such thing as putting a deal on hold unless the regulators, quote unquote, put something on hold. But for one of the principals who literally — Kara, he signed a merger agreement —

kara swisher

Right.

bill cohan

— a legally binding document. No, he’s got time. He’s got till October to try to pull this together. And then there’s already a six-month extension in the contract. So if he wants to extend it out some more and play games, he can keep this going for another 11, 12 months if he wants, at least.

kara swisher

So he used bots and fake accounts as the excuse for an escape hatch, essentially, or to get a discount. It’s not clear which one. Kevin, talk about the character of Elon. Now, this is not a surprise to you or I that he’s playing games, that he does this all the time. He loses interest in things. So talk about why this is not uncharacteristic of Musk to do.

kevin roose

Well, right, I think the bots thing is a total pretense. He knew there was a bot problem. He has bots in his replies every time he posts anything. I mean, I think this deal is very strange to me. It feels a little like an arranged marriage that’s going sour. Everyone pretended to be OK with it. But now the date is getting closer, the flowers have been ordered, the caterers are hired, and the groom is getting cold feet. He is clearly nervous about this. He wants to find a way out. I do think the deal will eventually close because of some of the reasons that Bill mentioned. But I think it’s going to be a very awkward interim. And there’s still a chance — I would put it at maybe 10 percent to 15 percent — that he finds a way out of this deal.

kara swisher

And why? Why did he want it in the first place and why is he doing that?

kevin roose

Well, I think there are two reasons he wanted it. One, I think he is just a case of complete Twitter brain. It’s weird because his brain is clearly still there and on certain topics still functions at a very high level. There’s still a lot of tweets out there about rockets and Neuralink and stuff like that. It used to be like 90 percent Tesla and rocket tweets and 10 percent everything else. And now it’s almost entirely the culture war.

kara swisher

Yeah.

kevin roose

He’s like someone who stumbled on to a PragerU YouTube video and emerges six months later just totally bought into the culture war. It almost feels like now his account is like if Ben Shapiro had a passing interest in satellites. And I do think that’s what’s motivating this.

He said that he’s motivated by the need to free Twitter of censorship. And I think his recent tweets make it fairly clear that he just thinks the service is way too censorious, way too woke, run by radicals and he wants to basically restore it to what he feels like it was before that.

kara swisher

Do you have any sense that he might be faking?

kevin roose

Faking in what sense?

kara swisher

This whole cultural thing. That it’s just he likes commenting on everything. He’s now commented on lots of topics of which he has no expertise whatsoever, which is typical Twitter, I guess.

kevin roose

I don’t think he’s faking necessarily. I think he is genuinely annoyed by what he sees as the woke PC left. Do I think it’s strategic for him in some way? Possibly.

I mean, my actual hot take here is that I think it’s probably good in a utilitarian sense that Elon Musk pisses off Democrats. Because with Tesla, what he was able to do is take something — the electric vehicle that had been coded as liberal — and he built Tesla, and by the fact that he was not a standard issue liberal, he kind of made electric vehicles acceptable for Republicans to buy, which has probably been a good thing in speeding the adoption of electric cars.

So I don’t know whether he’s genuine in his annoyance with the left or whether this is just some strategic thing for him. I don’t know exactly what it would get him if it was strategic. But I do think that he has undergone a profound change in just the past couple of years. The Elon that we’re seeing today is not the same one that we saw a couple of years ago.

bill cohan

And let me just add why I think that might be. I mean, I think you have to remember that at the beginning of the pandemic, poor Elon was only worth about $25 to $30 billion. And during the pandemic, because maybe Tesla became a bit of a meme stock, and along with some other meme stocks, his net worth just exploded 10 times to up to $300 billion.

So if you’re a middling corporate C.E.O., founder, billionaire worth $25 billion that has some other interests like rockets and tunnels and things like that and all of a sudden you become the world’s richest man — I mean, you just blow by Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates, his favorite friend — then I think all of a sudden you think, if I may say this, your shit doesn’t stink and you actually begin to think that you’re much more important than everybody else. And your hubris level rises and you think that everybody wants to hear what you have to say.

kara swisher

And that’s very typical. I mean, it’s happened over and over again. But the way he communicates, he’s a troll. He’s now become a troll in a lot of ways. But is it effective how he communicates on Twitter, Bill, to Wall Street or do they just think it’s just antics?

bill cohan

I think you have to parse out a lot of the stuff that isn’t related to Wall Street stuff for Wall Street to begin to care. When he says things like — well, when he things like — well, 4/20 funding secured, as he did, that was quickly perceived correctly as a joke despite his subsequent protests that it was legit and real. When he started tweeting about maybe perhaps changing the purchase price for his $54.20 deal with Twitter, I think Wall Street has to take that kind of stuff seriously.

And I think if you look at how quiet he has been with regard to the deal for the last two weeks, that to me says that he’s been negotiating to cut the price and that he’s actually listening to his lawyers who told him to shut up on Twitter. And if you really want to make this change in this deal, just keep quiet and go the route that every other deal guy goes, which is be quiet, do it in private and see if you can cut a new deal.

kara swisher

Does his being loudmouth, Kevin, matter at all do you think? I mean, he obviously commands an audience. They do what he says. He can attack and people have written about that quite a bit. He has his own fans attacking people. Is that helpful or not, or just ridiculous?

kevin roose

I think it’s helpful for him. I mean, he is extremely skilled at using Twitter to draw attention to himself, and his projects, and his pet causes. He reminds me of Trump in that respect. I mean, he just knows how to push the buttons. And he knows that if he does some boring tweet about some rocket, he’ll get X amount of engagement, but if he shares a meme from Reddit attacking the left, he will get 2X, 3X, 4X that engagement. So he’s a skilled user of Twitter. There’s just no way around that. He’s very good at —

kara swisher

But to what end? Because obviously he can’t run for president. He was born in South Africa. But to what end does it give him any advantage except personal popularity?

kevin roose

I think it’s purely cathartic for him. I think it’s purely sort of psychological. I mean, it’s not like he needs the money. If what he were trying to do were to maximize his own wealth, he would delete his Twitter account. Because he clearly is addicted, spends way too much time on it.

And this is the other thing I don’t get about Elon Musk. The guy, a couple of years ago — the whole thing was he sleeps on the floor of the factory. He works 100 hours a week. He doesn’t go out. Now he’s like — he posted the other day his build on “Elden Ring,” which is this video game that I tried to play and spent five hours trying to play and gave up and I was like, I’m too busy for this.

kara swisher

Yeah.

kevin roose

And I don’t run three companies.

kara swisher

Right.. Yeah, no, when he’s in the South of France at Ari Emanuel’s wedding. He has a new actress girlfriend, lots of Saint-Tropezing and stuff like that.

kevin roose

Totally. And so I think my reaction to his recently revealed Twitter addiction is what is he — what is his calendar? Is it just wake up, tweet for three hours, go to the rocket factory, tweak a couple of things on the design, and then go back to playing “Elden Ring“? I just want to know what kind of time management he’s doing.

kara swisher

Maybe he doesn’t sleep at all. But so, Bill, let’s talk about that serious thing, though. How is he going to finance this? It has changed, correct?

bill cohan

Yeah.

kara swisher

So explain how it’s changed to people.

bill cohan

I think it’s an important change, and it’s hard to know whether he did it voluntarily or he felt that the market was forcing him to do it. But I mean it’s the opposite of a leveraged buyout now. I mean, this is like a deal that’s got $30 billion of equity on a $44 billion deal. That’s not a leveraged buyout.

So he’s got — he still has the $13 billion of secured senior debt underwritten by a bunch of banks led by Morgan Stanley. That’s still in place. This will be secured by Twitter assets. And again, that loan — I mean, none of this exists, right?”

kara swisher

Mhm. Right.

bill cohan

So we have to make that point because that loan doesn’t exist because he can’t lever up assets he doesn’t own. He won’t own the Twitter assets until the deal closes. And then it all happens simultaneously. The banks will take that security and make that loan.

He eliminated the margin loan, which was originally like, what, $12 and a half billion? And then he cut it in half, or thereabouts, to about $6 and a half Again, I think people perceived that that loan somehow already existed and it was already tied to the Tesla stock, which was dropping like a stone. But of course, it didn’t exist. So I think maybe to eliminate that confusion, he just eliminated that loan and put it all down in the equity. So —

kara swisher

So he’s got to come up with that money, as you noted. And he gave some weird potpourri of friends —

bill cohan

Right.

kara swisher

— including some foreign investors. It means the U.S. will investigate it even more, by the way. Several people in Washington have said now that Qatar is in there, time to look at what’s going on.

bill cohan

Yeah, it’s the eclectic 18 that I’d call it. I mean, with Larry Ellison, of course, giving a billion dollars. He’s the biggest. And some a16z. Some of our old friends are in there. Again, I don’t know why. It’s not a traditional leveraged buyout in terms of structure, so none of the big private equity guys are in there.”

kara swisher

Yeah.

bill cohan

And I don’t expect they will be.

kara swisher

Is that a red flag or just no way we’re doing this?

bill cohan

Well, they could do it if they — I suggested the other day that maybe they create some sort of preferred for the Apollos or the Blackstones of the world. And they might be doing just that. So he’s got $7.1 from the eclectic 18. He’s got another $2 billion from Prince Alwaleed who agreed to roll over. He’s got another $4 billion, at least at $54.20, of his own stock. So he needs another $20, Kara.

kara swisher

That’s a lot of money, even if you’re the richest man.

bill cohan

For most people, that would be a non-starter.

kara swisher

Mhm. Yeah.

bill cohan

But for Elon, between maybe — I mean, he could definitely craft a security that would appeal very definitely to the private equity guys who have trillions of dollars to put to work.

kara swisher

So he could find it?

bill cohan

Definitely he could find it.

kara swisher

He just has to give up what? What does he have to give up to get it?

bill cohan

He has to — to get the private equity guys, I think he would need to give them a guaranteed annual preferred return of 7 percent or 8 percent plus some convert into the equity if this deal actually works. So just for renting their money, they would get 7 percent or 8 percent. I think Apollo, Blackstone, KKR, you know, if they want to be associated with the guy — I mean, that’s a big question.

And of course, the business plan that he’s proposing, the PowerPoint that’s out there circulating that has his projections is fantasyland. So I mean, maybe they just don’t buy into that. But if you give them the 7 percent or 8 percent guaranteed preferred return, they’re going to say, OK, I’ll put a billion dollars to work for that and get that. That’s not bad.

kara swisher

Right. And they expect to get it back from him given how he changes —”

bill cohan

Expect?

kara swisher

Yeah.

bill cohan

They will get it back.

kara swisher

All right. So Kevin, talk about the struggling thing, because I agree with Bill on this, the projections are crazy, given Twitter’s history. It’s struggled for years with revenue issues. The new C.E.O., Parag Agrawal, has fired two top leaders — head of product and revenue product lead. How do you think about the actual math of this deal, because it doesn’t look like Twitter’s ever made this much money nor does he have a plan to do so very quickly given the current environment.

kevin roose

Yeah, I mean, I don’t have as much insight into the balance sheet of Twitter as Bill probably does. But I feel like my impression is that this is a company that has long struggled to make its financial impact commensurate with its cultural and social impact. I mean, this is a company that, you know, has basically transformed the way media and politics and culture in this country and many other countries, and yet it has the market cap of a middling industrials company.

And so I think Elon — I wouldn’t put it past him to find some way to squeeze a little more water out of the sponge here, but I don’t think his plan to sort of revolutionize Twitter and grow the user base tremendously in a very quick period of time and get people to pay for using it — by the way, all while removing a lot of the content moderation that makes brands comfortable advertising on Twitter.

kara swisher

Right. Which he doesn’t want to do. What do you think of his idea of subscriptions or people who have big followings paying him?

kevin roose

Look, it’s plausible that he could find a way to run a marginally better business than the people who have been in charge of Twitter. But I think that the obstacles are likely to be much more severe than he expects. I don’t think this is a moneymaker for him. I think this is a passion project. And so he may not care about getting a huge return on it. He may consider this part of his political mission.

But I think he’s going to run into a lot of obstacles. I mean, just to name one, if this deal closes and he becomes the interim C.E.O. of Twitter, there is going to be a staff revolt. Twitter is not full of Elon Musk fan boys. It is a big, diverse, famously socially conscious — or at least says it’s socially conscious — tech company. A lot of the people who left Facebook, the integrity division, because they felt like that company was capitulating too much to the right, now work at Twitter.

These people are — you know, they’re not trivial to replace. They’re very skilled. And Elon is going to come in and I expect that something like 30 percent to 40 percent of the workforce will just leave, either because he fires them or because they quit. And that’s going to be a tremendous source of distress and distraction for him as the new Twitter C.E.O. I mean, it’s hard to ship new products and new features when your staff hates your guts.

kara swisher

And when you’re in Saint-Tropez so much. So Bill, is there a money thing here? You have talked about this a lot. Is there any kind of way — I mean, some people think it could be a payments thing. Another person posited to me — a pretty high-level person was like, look, when he goes into other countries as the head of Twitter, he can get good deals on his other — his rocket stuff, his Tesla stuff, this and that. So it helps him in that.

It’s like Jeff Bezos gets slightly detarnished by being the owner of The Washington Post. Is there any — it’s a little more expensive here. Jeff Bezos paid hardly anything for that. Is there any upside do you see for him from a financial point of view?”

bill cohan

In owning Twitter —

kara swisher

Yeah.

bill cohan

— at $44 billion? No, I don’t see it. I think, as Kevin was alluding to, and this is before any kind of staff revolt, I mean, to be generous, it makes a billion dollars of EBITDA a year. And that’s to be generous. I know they’ve projected $1.2, $1.3.

It’s still 44 times EBITDA. That is — no wonder Goldman and JPMorgan took about two seconds to say the deal was fair because it was a huge price that he’s offered, which, of course, is why so many people think he’s negotiating to cut the price, which would still be a big price.

I don’t see — I’ve never understood, Kara, why he needs to, quote unquote, own this whole thing. I mean, he could have been very happy at 9.1 percent. He could have then had a nice return because the stock jumped up. He could have made money on that. And could have had huge influence owning 9.1 percent. He could have gone on the board or not. I could see maybe why he didn’t want to do that. But this folly of owning the whole thing. And then, as Kevin was saying, you know, buyer’s remorse, and how do I get the hell out of this thing, and whether I want to. I don’t — but I guess if you’re worth $230 billion, what’s 10 percent or 15 percent of my net worth throwing into owning Twitter?

kara swisher

Right.

bill cohan

You know, what the hell?

kara swisher

I was thinking if I — someone asked me what I would do if I had his — I said, I might buy Twitter just for fun. I don’t know.

kevin roose

You would definitely buy Twitter, Kara.

kara swisher

I would definitely buy Twitter and I wouldn’t think — I would actually buy The New York Times actually. But it’s something —

bill cohan

Which would be much cheaper.

kara swisher

Yes, much cheaper. I would definitely do something like buy — I was thinking of a local — someone asked me what I’d do, and I’d be like, I’d buy all the local things and control the world from local.

kevin roose

Kara, you were a clue in The New York Times crossword the other day.

kara swisher

I know. Now that is the end of my career.

kevin roose

So maybe they’re buttering you up for the takeover.

bill cohan

For the big purchase.

kara swisher

Right. So you don’t think there’s any — neither of you — is there any upside for him, Kevin? I don’t — I guess owning it is kind of cool. Like, if he goes to some potentate in the Philippines, like I’m the head of Twitter. It gives him power — political power.

kevin roose

Yeah, I mean, he already has power. He’s the richest man in the world. So I don’t think this would change it. It would give him a lot of control over particularly the way media is disseminated. I mean, he would get to let Trump back on. He would get to un-ban all the folks who have been banned.

kara swisher

Which was going to happen anyway.

kevin roose

It would give them a lot of power. But I also think he doesn’t — he thinks he wants that power.

kara swisher

Yeah.

kevin roose

But have you ever looked at the comments under a Mark Zuckerberg Facebook post?

kara swisher

Yeah.

kevin roose

The number of people who are going to talk to Elon because their account got hacked —

kara swisher

Yeah.

kevin roose

— or they want to get verified, or someone scammed them. He is going to become the customer service department of Twitter. And it is going to ruin his life.

[MUSIC]

kara swisher

We’ll be back in a minute.

If you like this interview and want to hear others, follow us on your favorite podcast app. You’ll be able to catch up on “Sway” episodes you may have missed, like my conversation with former Twitter C.E.O. Dick Costolo, and you’ll get new ones delivered directly to you. More with Kevin Roose and William Cohan after the break.

[MUSIC]

So when you think about this, there’s things that are in the way — the S.E.C., Bill. So the S.E.C. announced they’re investigating whether he disclosed his financial stake in Twitter in a timely manner at the beginning. I think it’s a parking ticket.

bill cohan

Totally.

kara swisher

Does that mean anything for the deal or is there any —

— other investigations? Nothing?

bill cohan

No, no. that is a parking ticket for the deal. That’s just foolishness and wrong form. No, I don’t really see any real impediments. The current impediment is whether he wants to recut the deal. And then he’s going to have to negotiate with the board, and get fairness opinions and rewrite the proxy agreement and stretch out the time for the deal.

So I mean, again, Kara, if he really wants this — and again, I don’t understand why — I mean, I guess maybe because I’m not the world’s richest guy so I don’t think like that — but why he would want this, I don’t understand. I don’t even understand the power thing. So the sultan of whatever thinks he’s great because he owns Twitter. I think Elon’s great because he has SpaceX and he’s created these rockets that can land on a platform in the middle of the ocean.”

kara swisher

So is there any chance of S.E.C. doing anything here? Is there any government regulatory body?”

bill cohan

No, I don’t see it. The failure to file the right form is just a technicality. He doesn’t really respond to technicalities, as we know, from the S.E.C. They don’t, obviously, get along. There’s no reason he can’t own it. The only thing that would delay things here is if he recuts the deal, then he has to negotiate again with the board.

He has to get new fairness opinions, which will be tougher to give. Because at $54.20, easy to give. At $44.20 — just picking a number because it’s got four 20 in it — going to be harder to give. But they’ll give it. And then the whole proxy has to be refiled and rewritten. And they’ll do that. And that’ll delay things.

kara swisher

Two other things — lawsuits, and then, secondly, if there’s foreign ownership, like Qatar or anybody else in here, will it take longer?

bill cohan

I mean lawsuits will be a nuisance. There are always lawsuits in M&A deals, especially when you cut the price. I mean, the arbs are going to get killed here if he cuts the price. They’re already kind of scratching their heads like, what the hell is going on? Foreign investors — look, Prince Alwaleed has been an investor in Twitter. I think — I don’t really see any of these foreign investors as an issue.

kara swisher

Yeah. Interesting. All right, Kevin, do you see anything in the way at all? Who has more power in this deal, Elon or Twitter? I’d love you both to answer.

kevin roose

I think right now Elon certainly has the upper hand. I mean, Twitter is basically begging him to stay. And they’re saying we’re not going to let you out of this. He clearly wants out or wants a lower price. And the Twitter board has revealed itself to be totally capitulatory. They’ve just been kind of rolling over. They fought him and then they decided they weren’t going to fight him and let him onto the board. And then actually you can buy the company. And I just don’t see any evidence from them that they — I think they want to get this thing off their plate and onto Elon’s as quickly as possible.

So, no, I don’t see a lot of resistance there. I don’t think the S.E.C. is going to do anything if history is any guide here. So I think this — I would put it at 85 percent that the deal closes and maybe 10 percent to 15 percent chance that he finds a way out.

kara swisher

What about you, Bill?

bill cohan

I would — I love me some Kevin Roose and have for a long time. I have to say that —

kevin roose

Oh-oh, here it comes.

bill cohan

— respectfully disagree. I think until April 25, Elon had the power. On April 25, the power switched to the Twitter board and to that merger agreement, that binding merger agreement. Since then, Elon has fumbled. He’s had his passes intercepted. He’s played this terribly. He’s obviously stopped listening to his advisors, in my opinion, who gave him good advice until April 25.

Now the power to me rests with A, yes, ineffectual Twitter board, but who is well-advised, and is taking advice and is basically just saying specific performance, specific performance, specific performance. You signed a merger agreement. You have to close at $54.20, unless we, in our infinite wisdom, allow you to recut the deal. Or you can walk away, pay your billion dollars, find a reason, and then there’s going to be lawsuits up the wazoo against you. And even though you’re the world’s richest guy, you’re going to have to deal with it.

So I think the board has suddenly become much more powerful in this dynamic. It’ll be the board that will let him recut this deal or not. And it’ll be the board that has the power to make sure that this merger agreement gets executed — that not only gets executed, gets performed.

kara swisher

So let me ask, what is its power? What is it? Lawsuits, right, correct? A lawsuit? And they can just make him?

bill cohan

A lot of lawsuits. And lawsuits that are in its favor, Kara. I’m not a lawyer, but I mean you have a signed merger agreement. Nobody put a gun to his head and made him sign that merger agreement at $54.20. And the outs are very few. I think we started this conversation saying that he agreed to buy this company without doing any due diligence on it. Now he’s doing some due diligence. But hey —

kara swisher

Too bad.

bill cohan

Elon —

kara swisher

The furnace doesn’t work.

bill cohan

— you said you were going to buy it, buy it.

kara swisher

The basement is flooded. There’s mold. Oh, good God.

bill cohan

Right. Exactly. Remediation.

kara swisher

What is Parag Agrawal doing right now, Kevin, meeting with the board? What should he be doing? I think he’s a lot feistier than people think. I happen to know he’s a lot feistier than people think.

kevin roose

Yeah, I have no idea. I’d love to ask him myself.

kara swisher

So would I.

kevin roose

Parag, if you’re out there, give a guy a call. I think Parag is basically just the interim person until whatever happens with this Elon deal happens. But I think he basically has the task of just keeping things afloat until this deal is done or not.

He’s a new C.E.O. He’s well-liked at the company. But I think people have a lot of questions there about how he’s — what role he’s been playing through this entire process. He’s basically been silent except he’s done a few Twitter threads about things like bots and spam. But he’s just — my sense is he’s just trying to hold this thing together long enough for there to be a resolution.

kara swisher

So in other words, a “Trivial Pursuit” question some day. Tech edition.

kevin roose

I do think — yeah, it’ll be like — yeah, it’ll be a good trivia question. But I think it’s also just — I mean, it’s disappointing because he came in, he had a lot of ideas —

kara swisher

Yeah, he does.

kevin roose

— about what he wanted to do.

kara swisher

He still does. He still does.

kevin roose

He still does. He talked a big talk about decentralization and blue sky. And he had a lot of buy-in at the company. And now my sense, from talking to folks there, is that they just think he’s trying to pass the hot potato, get his payout, and step down to someone appointed by Elon or whoever ends up owning Twitter after this.

kara swisher

All right, last question. Prediction — one month from now, where will we be? Bill?

bill cohan

I think there’ll be a new merger agreement at a lower price.

kara swisher

OK, and what will he have to give up to get that?

bill cohan

Well, I think he whatever — it’ll probably be that the next round of trying to get out of the deal, if he were to do that, which would be really, really, really poor form — but of course, we know that he’s capable of any kind of poor form — is that the breakup fee would be much higher and the outs would be even fewer than there are now.

kara swisher

Kevin, last word. Prediction — one month from now.

kevin roose

I think, yeah, we’ll be either at a lower price to consummate this deal or Elon will have abandoned it and will be instead spending all his time playing “Elden Ring” and yelling about woke liberals.

kara swisher

All right, my prediction — I’m going to make a very quick one — Jeff Bezos is coming in. I’m just making that up off the top of my head.

bill cohan

Oh, that would be fun.

kara swisher

He’s going to buy everything. It would be so good. It would be so good. It would be so good. Anyway, thanks, guys.

bill cohan

Thank you, Kara.

kevin roose

Always a pleasure. [MUSIC]

kara swisher

“Sway” is a production of New York Times Opinion. It’s produced by Nayeema, Raza Blakeney Schick, Caitlin O’Keefe, Wyatt Orme and Kristin Lin, with original music by Isaac Jones, mixing by Sonia Herrero and Carole Sabouraud, and fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker.

Special thanks to Shannon Busta and Kristina Samulewski. The senior editor of “Sway” is Nayeema Raza. And the executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Irene Noguchi.

If you’re in a podcast app already, you know how to get your podcasts, so follow this one. If you’re listening on The Times website and want to get each new episode of “Sway” delivered to you, like an Elon Musk Twitter clap-back, download any podcast app, then search for “Sway” and follow the show. We release every Monday and Thursday. Thanks for listening.




Source link

Share this post on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.