Elon Musk dubs himself ‘Chief Twit,’ visits Twitter HQ as deal set to close


SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk is on track to buy Twitter. For real this time.

The world’s richest person showed up at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters today for meetings with executives, and changed his bio on Twitter to “Chief Twit.”

The moves signal the $44 billion deal is on track to close this week, something echoed by people close with Musk who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Financing is lining up to finalize the deal.

Twitter’s stock closed at $53.35 — just under Musk’s offer of $54.20, signaling the market believes it will go through too.

It’s a far cry from just a few weeks ago, when Twitter and Musk were locked in litigation after the Tesla CEO attempted to back out of his deal to acquire the social media company, citing problems with spam and bots.

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On his Twitter account Thursday, Musk praised the company’s capacity for enabling “citizen journalism,” and said entities such as local news organizations “should get way more prominence” on the site.

Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland sent an email to staff Wednesday morning saying Musk would be in the San Francisco offices and encouraged employees to “say hi,” according to a copy viewed by The Washington Post.

Musk himself later tweeted a video walking into the company’s reception area.

Twitter spokeswoman Rebecca Hahn confirmed a companywide communication which said Musk would address the company on Friday.

Musk is funding a large portion of the deal through debt from a group of seven major banks. Spokespeople for Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, BNPP and Societe Generale did not respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for Mizuho and MUFG declined to comment.

Musk’s team was pitching investors on the deal throughout the weekend, the people said, as they looked to lessen his financial burden in the deal.

Musk shifted his opinion on whether to buy the company after a series of losses in Delaware Chancery Court in matters related to scheduling and discovery, according to the people close to Musk and his team. A loss became a serious possibility if the matter went to trial, risking penalties beyond merely the buying cost. And the blows to Tesla’s stock and Musk’s net worth became a lingering concern.

Musk admitted to overpaying for the site during Tesla’s earnings call last week.

Elon Musk reversed course and made a proposal to acquire Twitter at $54.20 a share, according to a legal filing on Oct. 4. (Video: Reuters)

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Musk also took solace in his debt and equity commitments, which locked him into the deal on favorable terms that might not be otherwise available, the people said. And he became excited by his plans for the site.

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The Post reported last week that Musk laid out plans to lay off nearly three-fourths of Twitter’s staff, as he sought to implement aggressive cost-cutting and loosen the site’s content moderation standards.

The initial phase of his ownership will focus on talent — and Musk is expected to look to his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX, to seek out specialists who might help Twitter reverse its fortunes, the people said.

Gerrit De Vynck and Elizabeth Dwoskin contributed to this report.