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X is officially worth less than half of what Elon Musk paid for it

X is officially worth less than half of what Elon Musk paid for it


A year after he bought Twitter for $44 billion, Musk thinks the company is now worth $19 billion, a 55 percent drop.

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Illustration of Elon Musk with stacks of money in the background, adorned with Twitter logos
Image: Laura Normand / The Verge

Everyone knew that Twitter wasn’t worth $44 billion when Elon Musk bought it a year ago. Now, we know what Musk himself thinks it’s worth today: $19 billion.

On Monday, employees at X were awarded equity in the company at a valuation of $19 billion, or $45 per share, according to internal documents seen by The Verge. That price is a 55 percent discount to Musk’s original purchase price, per the documents, which note that “the fair market value per share is determined by the Board of Directors based on a number of factors in a manner that complies with applicable tax rules.” (Musk is X’s chair and has yet to create a formal board.)

Since he took over Twitter, Musk has said that he wants to model the company’s compensation plan after SpaceX, which is also privately held but lets employees regularly cash out a portion of their shares to outside investors. The type of equity X is giving employees is called restricted stock units, or RSUs. These RSUs are earned over a period of four years from their grant date and require a “liquidity event,” such as an IPO or sale of the company, to be taxed as income, the internal documents explain. (Fortune first reported that X was valuing itself at $19 billion.)

Until now, employees at X have been working there without the knowledge of what the company is worth since Musk bought it. This stock award information finally answers that question, though it seems that Musk’s valuation may still be too generous; one of his big investors, Fidelity, thinks X is worth 65 percent less than when he bought it.

I’ll have more on X’s new stock plan in the next issue of my newsletter: