By John Ikani
Elon Musk has lined up a new CEO for Twitter and told banks that agreed to help fund his $44 billion acquisition offer about his plans to monetize tweets, according to a new report from Reuters.
A source told Reuters that Musk has decided on who he plans to appoint as the new chief executive of Twitter, but the source didn’t name the person. Twitter’s current CEO Parag Agrawal, who took the role after Jack Dorsey stepped down in November, is expected to remain as CEO until the deal is completed.
Reuters reports that Musk told Twitter chairman Bret Taylor that he does not have confidence in the company’s management, which is a sentiment that he also stated in SEC filings.
Agrawal would be set for a significant compensation package if the deal closes and Musk brings in new management, as he would receive $38.7 million due to a clause in his contract, according to the company’s latest proxy filing.
Reuters reports that Musk told banks that he plans to develop more ways to make money from tweets. For example, he said that he plans to create a way to monetize tweets that go viral or include important information. He also suggested the idea of charging a fee when third-party websites quote or embed tweets from verified accounts.
The Washington Post reports that Musk also brought up the idea of paying influencers to create content for the platform, which is a business model that has proven to be successful for TikTok. Musk is also said to be interested in the idea of subscription services that the company could offer.
In deleted tweets from earlier this month, Musk suggested significant changes to Twitter Blue, which is the social media giant’s subscription service that is currently priced at $2.99 per month. Musk suggested cutting the price, adding a way to pay in dogecoin and banning advertising. In another now-deleted tweet, Musk said he wants to move Twitter away from its dependence on advertising for much of its revenue.
Musk had also told the banks he could crack down on executive and board pay at Twitter to slash costs. Reuters also reports that in his pitch to the banks, Musk said Twitter’s gross margin is much lower than other social media services, such as Facebook and Pinterest, and argued that there are ways to run the company in a more cost-effective way.
Bloomberg News reported this week that Musk spoke to bankers about job cuts as part of his pitch to the lenders. Musk reportedly won’t make decisions on job cuts until he receives ownership of the company.
Twitter says the transaction, which was unanimously approved by the board, will likely close this year following shareholder and regulatory approval and “the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.” Musk will have to pay Twitter a $1 billion termination fee if he doesn’t go through with his acquisition of the social network, per a recent SEC filing. The filing, which details the terms of the agreement, indicates Twitter would have to pay the same fee under specific circumstances.