A new report finds Twitter’s vendors and suppliers are “owed millions of dollars in back payments” which Musk is suddenly trying to weasel out of paying.
The thing we often recently forget about Elon Musk's haphazard takeover of Twitter is that he didn’t actually want to acquire the company. He made an offer of $54.20 a share to take the company private, which was, generously speaking, at least five to ten times what the company is actually worth. And he only went through with the deal because he got his ass handed to him in a Delaware Chancery court, and now with all the Saudi and Qatari money he needed to close the deal, he’s racking up $1 billion in interest payments a year, roughly around $83 million a month.
Consider this when evaluating not only the fact Musk has laid off more than half of the company, but now according to the New York Times, he’s refusing to pay the company’s outstanding bills. Per the Times, Twitter executives had “racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel invoices that the social media service planned to pay,” but now Musk has “refused to reimburse travel vendors for those bills.” The Times also adds that Musk’s “staff have since avoided the calls of the travel vendors.”
Hey, it’s one thing to not pay travel bills from a previous regime, as a sort of dick-swinging power move to make departed staff responsible for their previous work travel. But the Times adds that there are “some vendors who are owed millions of dollars in back payments,” and that Musk has been “instructing staff to review, renegotiate and in some cases not pay Twitter’s outside vendors at all.”
This is not the same as cutting back generous perks Twitter had previously offered, like free lunches, company smartphones, and subsidized childcare (as if Elon Musk gives a shit about childcare!). This is flat refusal to pay vendors on bills already owed. And while there's a certain type of person who might respect Musk for playing hardball to get discounts, it seems the new Elon Twitter is already developing a reputation not just in the business travel sector, but across supporting technology companies that Twitter needs to function.
And how’s that working out? Per the Times, "After Twitter’s contract with one software vendor expired under Mr. Musk’s ownership, that company voided a discount it had given to Twitter, "
Musk has even used the threat of company bankruptcy over Twitter employees, though as the Times reported Monday, he’s used similar threats at Tesla. Still, he did lay off even more sales staff on Sunday (even the ones who agreed to be all “hardcore!”), and according to the SF Business Times, Twitter’s previous VP of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region’s Chris Riedy is now the head of sales.
Image: BERLIN, GERMANY DECEMBER 01: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses next to Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner on the red carpet of the Axel Springer Award 2020 on December 01, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images)