Elon Musk swept Twitter off its feet in April, when he put in a bid to buy the company for $44 billion. But the impassioned beginnings of this acquisition have cooled down in the weeks since, as Musk has raised concerns about the inner workings of the company he agreed to buy essentially sight unseen (he did not conduct due diligence before he agreed to buy the social media platform). As the New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose puts it, the deal is starting to look “like an arranged marriage that’s sort of going sour.” Musk has invoked concerns about spam and fake accounts on the site, as well as privacy considerations. And the billionaire has gone so far as to tweet that the deal is “temporarily on hold” before clarifying that he is “still committed to acquisition.” But a breakup between Musk and Twitter would make for a difficult, costly and very public divorce.
In this conversation, Kara Swisher takes stock of the Twitter-Musk marriage with Roose and William Cohan, a business writer for Puck News. They break down the balance of power between Musk and Twitter and discuss why Musk even wants the company. And Cohan breaks down how the math clears — after all, even with help from a potpourri of wealthy investors, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, there are still questions about how Musk, the richest person in the world, will find the tens of billions of dollars he needs to close this deal.
This episode contains strong language.
(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
Thoughts? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Caitlin O’Keefe, Wyatt Orme and Kristin Lin, and edited by Nayeema Raza; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.