Twitter announced plans Wednesday to downsize its office holdings in multiple cities, including at its San Francisco headquarters, and the company is canceling plans for a downtown Oakland office announced last year.
In another sign of the waning days of the era of office work, Twitter says it will be letting go of some office space that it has maintained in San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Dublin. The company, which is taking Elon Musk to court in October over an abandoned acquisition deal, says that this is not any indication of layoffs or downsizing of the company, but just a realignment of its physical office needs.
As the SF Business Times reports, the plan includes letting go of offices in the building behind the SF Mart/Twitter Building, at 1 Tenth Street, where it had leased additional office space to supplement its main headquarters. Additionally, the company may completely close offices it had opened in Sydney; Seoul; Madrid; Wellington, New Zealand; Osaka, Japan; Hamburg, Germany; and Utretch, Netherlands.
“We are evaluating our global office portfolio and re-sizing certain locations based on utilization,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve proven we can operate our business successfully with a distributed workforce over the years, and remain committed to our employees, our customers, and the markets we serve. These decisions do not impact our current headcount or employee roles."
Downtown Oakland is one of the biggest losers in this announcement, which comes less than a year after Twitter announced it had signed a lease for four floors in an office tower at 1330 Broadway. The deal was heralded as a sign of hope for the era of remote and hybrid work, with Twitter saying the Oakland office would be designed specifically for hybrid workers. Now the company says it won't need those offices at all.
Twitter just announced its latest earnings last week, revealing a $270 million net loss for the second quarter, and referring to the Musk situation as "the pending acquisition of Twitter by an affiliate of Elon Musk." The announcement also talked about the Delaware Chancery Court trial, which Twitter succeeded in getting expedited and which is happening in October. The outcome of that will either be that Musk is compelled to go through with his acquisition of the company — possibly negotiating a lower share price than he originally offered — or he may have to pay a $1 billion breakup fee, or he could somehow just walk away scot-free. Legal experts suggest the latter outcome is not likely.
In any event, Twitter, like many companies right now, wants to show that it's doing some belt-tightening ahead of some economic uncertainty. Yesterday we learned that Meta/Facebook is also having something of an internal reckoning, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding a lot of "intensity" from everyone, and telling employees, "I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me."