Forget the endless drama, the bots, the twists and turns, the spectacle, the perceived risk to the republic, and everything we hold dear. The most important fact about acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk it is now magnates are on the loose.
In the old days, when a tech mogul wanted to buy something, he needed a company to do it. Steve Case used AOL buys time Warner. Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods point a Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook buys Instagramabout whatsapp and Oculus, and so on. These were corporate deals made with selfish motives, although they might not have taken place without a well-known and energetic owner.
Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in a $44 billion deal that finally went through on Thursday (27), six months after he closed the deal on it, is something else. This is a man who bought him something that 240 million people around the planet regularly use. While he has other investors as partners, Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the social media platform.
This deal is hard to evaluate, even in an industry built on this type of deal, because it’s a very unusual deal that happened on a whim.
But even by Silicon Valley standards, where billions of dollars of offers are casually presented by scarcely existing companies – and even Musk, who in most cases can be called the richest man on the planet, has $ 44 billion in purse. not exactly a small change.
Buying Twitter is also an absurdly bold move, fueled by the belief that a communications platform that has failed in all its efforts to generate serious profits and that has been embroiled in controversy over restrictions on free speech almost since its inception in 2006. , can be easily corrected by a certain person.
However, these days it seems that self-confidence is never enough when you have billions of dollars.
Washington Post, Time and Congressional Influence on the Shopping List
Musk and Bezos are separately fighting to recreate a space program that was considered too important and too expensive in the 1960s to be run by any entity other than the federal government.
Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta and refocused the company on creating a virtual world in which people “will live” from now on.
Peter Thiel, co-founder of online payment service PayPal and one of Facebook’s early investors, has become the largest contributor to this year’s US legislative campaign, pouring tens of millions of dollars into right-wing presidential campaigns. Congress. Two of his former employees are Republican Senate candidates in Ohio and Arizona.
Richard Walker, professor emeritus of economic geography at UC Berkeley and historian of Silicon Valley, sees a shift in the focus of power.
“In this new Gilded Age, we are being beaten by billionaires, not by the corporations that were the face of the 20th century,” he said. “And the tech titans are leading the way.”
Musk, who has dissolved Tesla’s public relations department, did not respond to a message asking for comment.
Rich people have always wanted to own the media, and that tradition has been kept alive by the tech titans. Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Marc Benioff of Salesforce is the owner of Time magazine. eBay’s Pierre Omidyar built a media empire from the ground up.
The $44 billion acquisition is only the 10th largest in Silicon Valley.
Mergers and acquisitions have been a feature of Silicon Valley for as long as Silicon Valley has existed. They often fail, especially when the acquisition involves technology that quickly becomes obsolete or has never worked. At least one reputable company Hewlett Packardfollowed this strategy and virtually disappeared.
Data firm Dealogic compiled The New York Times list of the 10 biggest technology transactions since 1995 by value. Musk’s purchase of Twitter ranks 10th on the list, she said. Microsoft’s more than $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is expected to receive only a fraction of the attention that Musk’s business has attracted, despite finishing in second place.
Activision Blizzard is just a video game company. Musk has argued from the start that the Twitter purchase is not a trophy, a joke, or a net worth raising scheme. Instead, he described it in the grandest terms he could.
“Having a trusted and broadly inclusive community platform is critical to the future of civilization,” the entrepreneur said in April after the deal closed. “I don’t care about the economic side at all.”
But he seemed to care a little more when the subsequent downturn in the stock markets made his offer too generous. Analysts have calculated that Twitter is not worth $44 billion, but $30 billion, maybe even less. For several months, Musk tried to get out of the business.
Walker, author of “Paintings of the Lost City: Technology and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area”, the theme of the future.
“Without unions, NGOs and local media, the public is full of disinformation”
“The new business tycoons have no counterweight,” he said. “Trade unions, fraternal organizations and local media have lost a lot of support. The general public has been isolated from these positive influences and inundated with misinformation.”
If Musk’s purchase of Twitter means the beginning of something, then, on the other hand, it also means the end. Other social media platforms are under the control of their founders due to the equity structure created for their companies. No one could buy Facebook and take Zuckerberg out of control without his consent, and the same goes for Snap and its main founder, Evan Spiegel.
“What was unique about Twitter was that no one controlled it,” said Richard Greenfield, media analyst at LightShed Partners. “And now one person will own it in full.”
However, Greenfield is hopeful that Musk will improve the site in some way. Which would have consequences.
“If the deal is a huge success,” he said, “other billionaires will try to do the same.”
Translated by Paulo Migliacci