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Musk Establishes A New Model Of 21st-Century Millionaire With Twitter As His Target


15/04/2022


Musk Establishes A New Model Of 21st-Century Millionaire With Twitter As His Target
Elon Musk, an iconoclastic billionaire with a stable of firms ranging from electric automobiles to private rocket ships, has become the world's richest person by developing a fortune firmly anchored in 21st century technology. Musk may soon follow in the footsteps of former tycoons by controlling a media platform that helped him rise to stardom, thanks to an all-cash $43 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc.
 
In a regulatory filing made public on Thursday, Musk, the CEO of electric vehicle firm Tesla, unveiled the takeover proposal and claimed he would take Twitter private.
 
Being the owner of Twitter would be the next step in the evolution of a divisive figure. Musk has earned the admiration and ire of Wall Street by combining the free-flowing obsessions of aerospace visionary Howard Hughes with an intense focus on revolutionising auto production akin to Henry Ford, resulting in a new model of billionaire who is as likely to take on short-sellers as he is to shoot a red luxury sports car into orbit, as he did in 2018.
 
"Whatever your feelings on Musk, he would certainly shake things up, with the only question as to whether he would make things worse or improve them," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
 
Musk, 50, has a fortune of $273.6 billion, according to Forbes, making him the world's wealthiest person, worth $92.3 billion more than Amazon.com Inc.'s Jeff Bezos. Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, to a Canadian mother and a South African father, and went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997.
 
He did not develop rockets or electric cars, and he did not found Tesla, which he has been the CEO of since 2008. However, his notion that Tesla's electric cars should be high-performance machines with sophisticated, smartphone-style software transformed the global auto industry, driving existing firms to strive to catch up while also spurring new, all-electric competitors like Rivian.
 
Despite the fact that many anticipated Tesla to fail during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and again in 2017-2018 when it struggled through "manufacturing hell" with the launch of its high-volume Model 3 vehicle, the business began producing quarterly profits in 2020.
 
Tesla's success has been recognised by Wall Street, which has increased the company's market capitalization to more than $1 trillion, surpassing the combined market capitalization of all three Detroit automakers and Toyota Motor Corp, and making it the fourth-largest company in the benchmark S&P 500 index, which is the backbone of millions of Americans' retirement savings plans.
 
At the same time, his business, SpaceX, managed by President Gwynne Shotwell, has turned the space launch industry on its head by designing rockets that can launch satellites into orbit and then return to Earth for reuse.
 
Musk, arguably more than anyone else, has aided in the mainstreaming of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with Tesla holding nearly $2 billion in bitcoin on its financial sheet and being one of the few companies to accept dogecoin as payment.
 
Musk has sped through a slew of subordinates who couldn't keep up or were fed up with his never-ending demands. At times, even his most ardent supporters looked to be losing patience with him. Cathie Wood, a well-known stock picker whose large stake in Tesla propelled her ARK Innovation ETF to the greatest performance of any US fund in 2020, said at a conference on Tuesday that she is turned off by Musk's "antics" and has little personal contact with him.
 
Musk has been chastised by labour activists for his anti-union stance. Former business associates, state and federal authorities, and Wall Street personalities like short seller Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates have all clashed with Musk. Musk chastised Chanos for claiming that Musk's output predictions for Tesla and his tunnelling company, The Boring Company, were unrealistic.
 
"What bothers me is not so much the personal stuff and the personal attacks. I'm used to that. It's the willingness to say things that I think he knows are a stretch, to be polite," Chanos told CNBC in 2018.
 
Musk has also tweeted that a reporter misled the public about Model 3 manufacturing and "followed that up with unpleasant tweet to me" on his birthday in 2018.
 
Musk became a household name thanks to Twitter. He has 81 million followers on Twitter and has amassed a huge enough pop culture following to deserve a position anchoring the renowned American comedy television show "Saturday Night Live" in 2021.
 
A Twitter takeover would add Musk to a long list of American corporate tycoons who made their fortunes in the media, from William Randolph Hearst in the late 1800s to Jack Welch's 1986 decision to buy the parent company of broadcast network NBC while still CEO of General Electric.
 
Musk has used Twitter to target major and small short-sellers. He's also shared anything from Dad jokes to surveys about what he should do with his unrealized gains from Tesla's stock price surge.
 
His Twitter content has been the subject of a long-running legal struggle with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States. After tweeting that he had "financing secured" to take Tesla private, Musk agreed to a 2018 settlement with the government that required him to get pre-approval on some Twitter statements. The SEC said Musk deceived investors, despite the fact that Musk made no admissions or indicated his innocence in the deal. The SEC has since been accused of "unrelenting harassment" by Musk.
 
"Twitter has been intertwined with Musk's global reach, which is why he feels so passionately about the platform," said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. "But for the Twitter board this is a living nightmare because unless they want to eat lawsuits for breakfast they have to find another bidder."
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)