It's 6 weeks since Elon Musk disclosed his intentions to buy Twitter. A controversial move for many reasons: free speech, breaking the SEC rules, upsetting shareholders, Donald Trump. It's a soap opera with Musk playing J R Ewing in his Texan ranch. The show that everyone is watching!
Elon Twitter soap opera rumbles on
WTF!: Elon Musk's Twitter fan base is on the rise, now up to 92 million followers. Meanwhile, his wealth, as defined by the value of his Tesla stock, is on the downward slide. On the 13th April, Tesla was trading around $1,028. Today it's down a third at $728.
On top of that, the decline in the price of Bitcoin has wiped out all the gains from Musk's $1.5 billion acquisition of the cryptocurrency at the start of last year.
If you remember, Musk used spare cash from the Tesla balance sheet to by Bitcoin. A move that added significant credibility to Bitcoin at the time. (A move first made by the software company MicroStrategy under the direction of CEO Michael Saylor.)
If that was me, I'd be a little bit preoccupied with my wealth rather than a fickle social media following. But not the man-child genius that is Elon Musk.
He's been at it on Twitter again with suggestions on how to improve the product and stoking up the free speech absolutists. It's hard to make any kind of sense of it all, other than it's some weird insight to the way his brain works.
Earlier this week, Elon tweeted, "If I die under mysterious circumstances, it’s been nice knowin ya." This fuelled the conspiracy theorists that "they" are after him (reminiscent of the paranoia of John McAfee that the Gov were out to get him.)
There there was this one...where Elon has used an image with changed wording that appears to show how misinformation and fake news fires up the brain and fuels engagement (which the ad revenue based social media industry feeds off).
Meanwhile: details of who is backing the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter have emerged.
Interestingly, given that Elon Musk is pushing a return to "free speech" that means anyone can say anything, he'll be taking sizeable investments from firms based in the Middle East (which is less than tolerant of anyone speaking their mind.)
- Saudi Arabia Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (from that bastion of free speech) will roll over his 35 million Twitter shares to support Musk's bid. $1.9 billion
- Vy Capital is a Dubai based tech VC who have pledged $700 million (another place where free speech has a different definition to Musk's ideal).
- Qatar Holding, part of the world’s ninth-largest sovereign-wealth fund, will add $375 million.
However, the most interesting partner to emerge is Binance, the world's 2nd largest cryptocurrency exchange. They are putting up $500 million to support Musk's takeover.
Here's the thing: Musk is a Bitcoin afficionado and sees a crypto future for Twitter, mostly likely as a payments platform.
I've suspected since the beginning that Musk has a strategic play for Twitter that he's keeping close to his chest. My money is on Musk turning Twitter into a SuperApp, combining payments with social and commerce.