Elon Musk’s Twitter deal proceeding, not ‘on hold’, Executives tell staff

Twitter Inc. officials assured staff on Thursday that the $44 billion deal to sell the firm to billionaire Elon Musk is proceeding as expected, and that the agreed-upon price of $54.20 per share will not be renegotiated.

According to sources who attended the meeting, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and head of policy, reportedly told employees at an all-hands meeting that “there is no such thing as a deal being on hold.” She was responding to Musk’s recent comments that the deal is on hold while he learns more about the number of bots and spam accounts on the social media service.

The announcement of the meeting, which was first reported by Bloomberg, boosted the Twitter stock by roughly 2%. Previously, the stock had fallen as much as 1.7 percent.

Other top Twitter executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal and finance head Ned Segal, also addressed staff, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they were discussing internal business. Following Twitter’s submission of its proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week, which explained the transaction’s history and terms, the companywide video call was designed for leaders to discuss the acquisition and provide more specifics.

Several worries surrounding the purchase were addressed by executives, including if Twitter would try to legally force Musk to buy the company based on his agreement. Gadde warned employees that Musk must “do everything he can” to get his financing in order and that Twitter may try to “enforce” the terms of the agreement “if we ever needed to do that in court.” She said that reaching that point would be “pretty rare.”

Musk said earlier this week that he would be interested in renegotiating his contract with Twitter. The stock is currently selling at $37.45 per share, which is well below the offer price.

The all-hands gathering on Thursday was the latest in a series of internal briefings designed to assist employees in better grasping the sales process. Segal explained to staff how the disparity between Twitter’s stock price and Musk’s offer suggested some concern that the merger would go through.

He also stated that management is still talking with Musk and his team and that they are working with them “regularly” throughout the process to prepare for Musk to take over. Segal also detailed how Twitter’s board of directors arrived to the decision to sell to Musk, which included a study of Twitter’s financial predictions if a deal did not materialize.