My Writings. My Thoughts.

Friday April 15, 2022

// April 14th, 2022 // Comments Off on Friday April 15, 2022 // Daily News

TECH

Elon Musk says he’s ‘not sure’ he’ll be able to buy Twitter after $43 billion bid, teases a plan B

  • Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged Thursday he is “not sure” he’ll actually be able to buy Twitter, hours after he made an offer to acquire the company.
  • Asked by TED’s Chris Anderson if there was a “Plan B” if his current offer were rejected, Musk said, “there is”

Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged Thursday at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver that he is “not sure” he’ll actually be able to buy Twitter. The comments came hours after a regulatory filing revealed that he offered to acquire the company for $54.20 per share, or about $43 billion.

Twitter confirmed it had received the bid but its board must still review the offer, which values shares much lower than the $70 they reached last summer. But Musk had said the offer would be his “best and final” one.

Later on Thursday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal reportedly told employees in a staff meeting that the company is evaluating the offer.

Asked by TED’s Chris Anderson if there was a “Plan B” if his current offer were rejected, Musk said, “there is.”

He declined to elaborate.

Despite his vast wealth, much of Musk’s assets are not liquid, leaving some analysts to wonder how he would provide the funds if his bid were accepted. Wells Fargo analysts, for example, said Thursday that Musk may have to sell Tesla shares to fund the takeover.

Anderson asked if Musk had “funding secured,” alluding to Musk’s infamous tweet when he said he would take Tesla private, which later got him into hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“I have sufficient assets,” Musk said. “I can do it if possible.”

Musk added in reference to the earlier Tesla take private tweet, “funding was actually secured” and explained why he does not “have respect for the SEC in that situation.”

He went as far as to call some at the agency, “those bastards.”

In September 2018, the SEC charged Musk with making “false and misleading” statements to investors when he announced via Twitter in August that year he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had funding secured. Musk and Tesla eventually agreed to a settlement with the government and revised it in 2019.

Under its terms, Musk and Tesla each had to pay $20 million in fines to the SEC, and Musk had to temporarily relinquish his role as chairman of the company’s board.

In June 2020, the SEC said Musk was in violation of some terms of the agreement that required the CEO to have tweets preapproved if they contained material business information about Tesla likely to affect the share price. Musk had tweeted that Tesla’s stock price was too high, which sent the shares down.

The SEC is currently investigating Musk over his use of Twitter in conjunction with the timing of his trades.

“I don’t mean to blame everyone at the SEC but certainly the San Francisco office,” Musk said, discussing the controversy over the take private tweet. “It was because the SEC knew that funding was secured but they pursued an active, public investigation nonetheless. At the time, Tesla was in a precarious financial situation and I was told by the banks that if I did not agree to settle with the SEC that they would, the banks would cease providing working capital and Tesla would go bankrupt immediately. So that’s like having a gun to your child’s head. So I was forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully, those bastards.”

The SEC declined to comment.

Musk’s vision for Twitter

Musk also laid out his vision for Twitter should he be successful in gaining control.

“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” he said, likening Twitter to a “de facto town square.”

He acknowledged a need for some level of content moderation, like around explicit calls to violence, and said the service would have to comply with the laws of the countries in which it operates.

But, he said, he’d like to see the platform’s policies and algorithm be much more open and accessible so that people can critique it and raise concerns.

He said that if a tweet was altered in some way there should be information attached to it explaining why. Twitter does already attach links to its policies when it removes or labels a post that violates its guidelines.

Generally, Musk said “time-outs” are preferable to permanent bans.

He said another top priority would be ridding the platform of “spam and scam bots.”

Thursday February 3, 2022

// February 3rd, 2022 // Comments Off on Thursday February 3, 2022 // Daily News

TECH

Facebook shares plummet 24% after reporting weak guidance

Here’s what election rigging and transhumanism get you

  • Shares of Facebook parent Meta plunged Thursday after the company forecasted weaker-than-expected revenue growth in the next quarter.
  • The company blamed privacy changes to Apple’s iOS and macroeconomic challenges weighing on advertiser budgets.
  • Other social media stocks were down Thursday following Facebook’s plunge.

Shares of Facebook parent Meta were down more than 24% Thursday after the company forecasted weaker-than-expected revenue growth in the next quarter. It also said it’s taking a big hit from Apple’s privacy changes, and showed the first quarterly decline in daily active users on record.

The stock is on pace for its biggest one-day drop ever, ahead of the 19% plummet it saw in July 2018.

The company, which released earnings under its new name for the first time with a new reporting structure, missed earnings estimates for the fourth quarter at $3.67 vs. $3.84 analysts were expecting, according to Refinitiv. But it beat on revenue for the quarter, at $33.67 billion vs. $33.4 billion estimated.

Still, its revenue forecast of $27 billion to $29 billion for the first quarter fell below analyst expectations of $30.15 billion, according to Refinitiv.

The company said Apple’s iPhone privacy changes, which impact its ad-targeting and measuring, would result in a $10 billion revenue hit this year. It also said macroeconomic challenges like inflation and supply chain disruptions, are weighing on advertiser budgets.

JPMorgan analysts downgraded the stock from overweight to neutral on Thursday and lowered their price target from $385 to $284. The analysts said Meta “is seeing a significant slowdown in advertising growth while embarking on an expensive, uncertain, multi-year transition to the Metaverse.”

Facebook is also leaning more heavily into products that generate less revenue in the short-term but which executives believe have large growth potential, like Reels on Instagram. The company’s core social media business, reported under its Family of Apps, made $32.79 billion in revenue in the quarter with operating income of $15.89 billion.

Meta broke out its Reality Labs segment for the first time, comprising its future-focused business that aims to develop the metaverse. The segment made $877 million in revenue in the fourth quarter with an operating loss of $3.3 billion. The segment lost $10 billion last year, and those losses are growing as it bets on the metaverse.

Other social media stocks were down Thursday following Facebook’s plunge. Shares of Snap were down more than 18% Thursday, Pinterest shares are down 10% and Twitter shares are off more than 6%.