Elon Musk hints at layoffs in first meeting with Twitter employees

Tesla boss Elon Musk.Getty Images

Multi-billionaire Elon Musk has in a meeting with Twitter employees hinted at potential job cuts if his $44bn (£35.8bn) takeover bid for the social media company is successful.

He also addressed topics like remote working, freedom of speech and potential extra-terrestrial life.

Mr Musk was talking to staff for the first time since launching his bid for the firm in April.

He has said he may quit the deal if he is not given data about fake accounts.

On a wide-ranging video call with Twitter employees on Thursday, Mr Musk said hat layoffs at Twitter would depend on the company’s financial situation.

“The company does need to get healthy. Right now the costs exceed the revenue,” he said.

However he added: “Anyone who’s… a significant contributor should have nothing to worry about”.

He also stated his preference for working from the office unless “somebody is exceptional”.

However he did not provide an update on takeover discussions and Twitter employees took to an internal communications channel to express their disappointment about his views on the business and employee compensation.

Mr Musk, who is the boss of electric vehicle maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, also discussed the possibility of life beyond earth although he said he has not seen “actual evidence for aliens”.

“Can we travel to other star systems and see if there are alien civilisations?” he asked, adding that the platform could help “civilisation and consciousness”.

Separately, a group of employees at SpaceX – where Mr Musk is chief executive – called Mr Musk a “frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” in an internal letter to the company’s executives on Thursday.

Meanwhile, he was also sued for $258bn (£209bn) later in the day by a investor in the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, who accused him of running a pyramid scheme to drive up its price.

The complaint filed by in New York alleges that Mr Musk “used his pedestal as World’s Richest man to operate and manipulate the Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme for profit, exposure and amusement”.

Earlier this month, Mr Musk threatened to walk away from the takeover bid and accused Twitter of “thwarting” his requests to learn more about its user base.

In a letter filed with regulators, he said he was entitled to do his own measurement of spam accounts.

The letter formalised a dispute that had simmered for weeks after he declared the deal was “on hold” pending further information.

Shares in the company stood at $37.36 each at the end of New York trading on Thursday, well below Mr Musk’s offer price of $54.20.

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