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Elon Musk did it to Us Again!!
By now you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that Elon Musk announced he was going to buy Twitter for 44 billion dollars.
Yes, you heard it correctly. That’s billion, with a capital “B.” 44 of them to be exact.
Elon Musk and Twitter.
If you don’t remember the story, it went something like this:
- On April 14, Elon Musk said he would buy Twitter himself for 44 billion dollars.
- That price equaled $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock, a 38% premium to the site’s stock price on April 1 (which had recently fallen 17% after Twitter’s new CEO was announced).
- Then the word kinda sorta slipped out that Elon Musk wasn’t actually putting up the whole $44 billion himself. Instead, Musk had arranged $46.5 billion in financing from Morgan Stanley and other banks.
- Next, Elon Musk teased that he might allow Donald Trump back on the platform (you might remember that Trump’s Twitter account was closed on 01/08/22)
- A few days later, Musk confirmed that he would indeed allow Trump back onto Twitter.
- But then Musk announced that he might not buy the site after all because it was possible that more than 5% of Twitter users were actually bots. Really? He wasn’t aware of the number before he pledged the $44 billion? Looks like I spend more time inspecting a vintage car I’m thinking of buying than Musk does to spend almost the entire GNP of Austria on a web portal.
- Twitter stock fell 20% on his announcement, recovering somewhat when Musk tweeted that he “remained committed to the deal.” According to a Reuters article on May 13, Twitter’s “shares were down 9.6% to $40.71 in trading on Friday, a steep discount to the $54.20 per share acquisition price.”
Musk and Twitter for people with short attention spans.
- Elon Musk was buying Twitter with $44 billion of his own money.
- Elon Musk was borrowing $46.5 billion to buy Twitter.
- Elon Musk was going to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account.
- Elon Musk was not buying Twitter.
Regardless of the long-term business ramifications of this deal and regardless of whether or not Musk actually winds up buying Twitter, he’s already gotten what he wanted.
Elon Musk hijacked the news cycle for a full week. And now you and I believe that Musk has $44 billion in cash.
Not only that, but when the Twitter acquisition story was dying down and people stopped talking about it, preferring to obsess over really important issues such as Russia invading Ukraine and the leaking of The Supreme Court’s draft of their Roe v. Wade decision, Musk got himself back in the headlines and got everyone talking simply by threatening to bring back Donald Trump.
Why did Elon Musk do this?
Just like the influencers who get paid to play video games on Twitch or apply makeup on Instagram, Musk used social media and traditional media to enhance his brand image. By doing this, he’s no different than the Kardashians, anyone who’s ever appeared on The Bachelor or the entire cast of every “Housewives of…” show ever produced – using base, salacious or prurient outbursts to get attention.
Elon Musk masterfully used every attention-grabbing device he could for the sole purpose of getting you and I to contribute our time and attention to his business at virtually no cost. Because as the old advertising adage goes, “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”
People say that time and money are resources, and you can argue whether that’s true or not. What is true is that money is a renewable resource while time is the ultimate non-renewable resource – you can always figure out how to get more money, you can never, ever, ever get more time.
Elon Musk’s brand got all the advantages of our time, attention, and opinion of his reputation and he paid us nothing for it.
You will never ever get back the time you spent looking at stories and posts about Elon Musk or Twitter.
The people who rushed in to buy Twitter stock thinking they’d profit by Elon Musk’s purchase will never get back the money they lost. Elon Musk did it to us again.