The secret brain trust behind Musk’s Twitter takeover, and other news

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An informal group of libertarian-leaning activists and businessmen prodded Elon Musk into launching his $44 billion Twitter buyout, according to a new report.

Perhaps most significantly, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has for some time been ‘whispering’ in Musk’s ear that the company should be privately held and run, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Dorsey, who abruptly stepped down as Twitter CEO in November but remained on the company’s board, grew so close to Musk that he would sometimes appear to be ‘spaced out’ in meetings because the two men were messaging during the workday, a former Twitter executive told the outlet.

Meanwhile, a close-knit group of Musk’s closest friends and confidants were said to be urging the world’s wealthiest man to use his fortune to assert control over Twitter, one of the most significant platforms for public discourse.

Concerned by Twitter’s increasingly draconian crackdowns and bans, which often seemed politically tilted to punish conservatives, this group reportedly used their influence with Musk to convince him to take dramatic action.

The informal ‘brain trust’ is said to include investor Peter Thiel and entrepreneur David Sacks — members of the so-called PayPal mafia who helped found the payments startup with Musk in the late 1990s.

Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, an early Tesla investor who once served on that company’s board, was also part of the cadre, people familiar with the matter said. 

The sources also named Musk’s brother, Kimbal, who is a Tesla board member. 

Musk’s top lieutenant Jared Birchall is also believed to have been a key advisor on the takeover deal. 

The new report reveals just how distressed Musk was when Twitter banned former President Donald Trump in the wake of the US Capitol riot. 

Musk has not publicly revealed whether he would allow Trump to return to Twitter once he assumes control, but has said he is opposed to most permanent bans from the platform. Trump himself claims that he wouldn’t return even if invited. 

Musk appears to have been spurred into action after Twitter temporarily suspended the account of the Babylon Bee, a conservative satire site, in March.

The Bee had in a tweet mockingly congratulated a transgender woman in the Biden administration as ‘Man of the Year.’

Musk placed a call to Seth Dillon, the CEO of the Babylon Bee, and asked him if that tweet was the reason for the suspension. When Dillon affirmed it was, Musk reportedly mused that he ‘might need to buy Twitter.’  

On April 13, the day before his hostile takeover was first made public, Musk reportedly had dinner in Vancouver with a small group, including Jurvetson and TED leader Chris Anderson. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10770965/amp/The-secret-brain-trust-Musks-Twitter-takeover.html

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By Elizabeth Stauffer  May 1, 2022 at 9:41am

Ahead of his $44 billion bid to acquire Twitter, Elon Musk declared that he had no confidence in the company’s management team.

In Exhibit B of Musk’s April 13 Schedule 13D filing with the SEC, he stated: “If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”

Sources told Bloomberg last week that Musk “featured job cuts” in his pitches to potential lenders for the deal. According to Bloomberg, “Musk told bankers that he would be focused on the social-media company’s bottom line and floated the idea of cutting both costs and jobs, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Additionally, on Friday, Reuters reported “three people familiar with the matter” said Musk told bankers he intended to reduce executive salaries as part of his cost cutting plans.

In the tweet below, Musk gave us a clue about who might be the first to get sacked.

Twitter’s chief legal officer and general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, serves as the company’s ultimate censor. Gadde, who earned $17 million from the social media platform in 2021, is said to be instrumental in Twitter’s decisions to boot former President Donald Trump from the site and to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story, arguably costing Trump the election.

The insufferable Gadde was steamrolled over her left-wing bias during a 2019 interview with conservative journalist Tim Pool on “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Musk posted a flowchart based on their discussion.

Pool asked, “So your platform restricts speech?”

“Our platform promotes speech unless people violate our rules,” Gadde replied.

“In a specific direction,” he said.

“In any direction,” she insisted. “It’s about a pattern and practice of violating our rules.”

Pool stopped the ridiculousness. “You have a pattern and practice of banning only one faction of people.”

He cited a report from media outlet Quillette. Out of 22 high-profile bannings from 2015, Quillette “found that 21 of them were only on one side of the cultural debate.”

“But I don’t look at the political spectrum of people when I’m looking at their tweets,” she protested.

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