Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal acknowledged the possibility that Elon Musk’s deal to purchase the company could fall through in a series of tweets this afternoon that sought to explain why he’s shaking up Twitter’s leadership. Agrawal said that he’s still “accountable for leading and operating” Twitter for the time being and that his recent changes are meant to “build a stronger Twitter” and help manage costs.
“While I expect the deal to close, we need to be prepared for all scenarios and always do what’s right for Twitter,” Agrawal said.
His remarks come after Musk tweeted this morning that his $44 billion purchase of Twitter is “temporarily on hold” over concerns about spam and fake accounts. While it is entirely unclear whether Musk can actually pause the deal — Matt Levine at Bloomberg says putting a deal on hold “is not a thing” — the remarks were still enough to send Twitter’s stock plummeting around 10 percent today, scaring off investors over the concern that the agreement could fall through.
Agrawal now has two sizable problems: Musk, who’s threatening to pull out of the deal, and his own company, which has now been shaken both by the chaotic acquisition deal and Agrawal’s newly announced hiring freeze and dismissal of two top product leaders.
On Thursday, Agrawal announced the departures of Kayvon Beykpour and Bruce Falck, who led Twitter’s consumer and revenue products, respectively. He also announced that the company was “pausing most hiring and backfills” and trying to reduce costs elsewhere.
“I won’t use the deal as an excuse to avoid making important decisions for the health of the company, nor will any leader at Twitter,” Agrawal wrote today. He said to “expect more change for the better” while he remains CEO.
In a followup to his “temporarily on hold” tweet Friday morning, Musk noted that he was “still committed to acquisition.” On Friday evening, Twitter chairman Bret Taylor said in a quote tweet that “we are too. We remain committed to our agreement.”
Update May 13th, 8:10PM ET: Added tweet from Bret Taylor.