A new trove of text messages between Elon Musk and Twitter executives, close friends, potential investors and Silicon Valley brothers sheds light on how a $44 billion deal by the world’s richest person came to be to buy the social media company and ended up in court.
The texts show who wanted to be part of the buyout and reveal the inner circle’s musings about who should run the company if Musk were to own it. They were revealed as part of Twitter’s lawsuit to make Musk honor its offer of $54.20 a share, which is scheduled to go on trial in Delaware Chancery Court next month.
Among the many text messages, Musk reveals that he “has a minor case of COVID” in late March, is usually “until 3 am” and no longer has a personal assistant.
Here are 10 glimpses of the messages:
- Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter, worked to get Musk to join the board shortly after activist investors began campaigning for change at the company in 2020. “I did everything I could to get you on our board, and the board said no,” Dorsey wrote. “That was the moment I decided I needed to work to leave, as hard as it was for me.” Dorsey is “jack jack” on Elon’s phone.
- Musk’s relations with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal They went from friendly to cold in a week. On April 5, Agrawal tweeted that Musk would be named to Twitter’s board of directors and got Musk’s approval for the language in the tweet. But by April 9, the tone had changed dramatically. Agrawal chided Musk for his tweets that belittled the company. “You are free to tweet ‘Twitter is dying’ or anything else about Twitter, but it is my responsibility to tell you that it is not helping me improve Twitter in the current context. I’d like to provide your perspective on the level of internal distraction right now and how [sic] It harms our ability to work.”
“What did you do this week?” Musk snapped back. “I will not join the board. This is a waste of time,” he wrote 40 seconds later. “I’ll make an offer to make Twitter private,” he texted 15 seconds after that.
- A few minutes later, Musk texted President Bret Taylor about how to fix Twitter. The texts suggest that already knew about the Twitter bot problem, which he would later cite as a reason for abandoning the deal. “This is hard to do as a public company, as purging fake users will make the numbers look dire, so the restructuring needs to be done as a private company,” Musk wrote. “This is Jack’s opinion too.”
- On April 20, Musk sent a message text to Larry Ellison from Oracle. “Any interest in participating in the Twitter deal?” she asked. Ellison said yes. Musk asked how much. “A billion…or whatever you recommend,” Ellison replied. Musk recommended 2 billion. On April 24, Ellison said, “Since you think I should go in for at least $2 billion…I’m down for $2 billion.”
- Several of Musk’s friends had ideas about who should hire Musk . Investor Bill Lee suggested Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital. Jason Calacanis noted that “Twitter CEO is my dream job.”
- Joe Rogan I was a fan of the deal. “I REALLY hope you have Twitter,” the huge podcaster wrote. “If you do, we should have a big party.”
- Steve Jurvetson suggested that Musk hire Emil Michael, the former chief commercial officer of Uber, and sent a text message to Michael’s LinkedIn account. “I don’t have a LinkedIn account,” Musk replied.
- Gayle King of CBS asked Musk for an interview in April , saying that buying Twitter was what kids call a “gangsta move” and suggesting that Oprah Winfrey might want to join the board. King said that she would like a Twitter edit button. “Twitter edit button coming up,” Musk replied.
- Musk warned Calacanis not to offer investments in the “randos” deal. “It makes it sound like I’m desperate,” he said. Calacanis said that he just wanted to be supportive: “You know that I walk or die brother.”
- En marzo, Sam Bankman-Friedthe cryptocurrency billionaire, tried to contact Musk through an associate to discuss joining a deal for Twitter. Musk seemed uninterested, and unaware of Bankman-Fried’s wealth, asking, “Do you have large amounts of money?” Ultimately, he warmed to the idea, “as long as I don’t have to have a laborious blockchain discussion.” It is not clear if they met.