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Elon Musk now says Twitter is worth $20 billion, or less than half of what he paid

Elon Musk now says Twitter is worth $20 billion, or less than half of what he paid


In an email sent to Twitter staff, Musk told employees they would receive stock grants based on a $20 billion valuation. Last year he paid $44 billion to buy Twitter.

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An image of Elon Musk on a background with a repeating pattern of folded dollar bills
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

Elon Musk has put a $20 billion value on Twitter, making up less than half of the $44 billion Musk paid to acquire the site, according to reports from Platformer and The Information. In a memo sent to staff viewed by Platformer’s Zoë Schiffer, Musk reportedly says that employees will receive stock grants based on Twitter’s $20 billion valuation.

Musk stated last year that he’s “obviously overpaying” for Twitter at $54.20 per share. Price was also one of the reasons why he attempted to back out of the deal last year, claiming that the company made false and misleading statements about the presence of bots on the platform.

As noted by Schiffer, Musk adds that he sees “a clear but difficult path” to achieving a $250 billion valuation, which would eventually make Twitter’s current stock grants worth 10 times as much as they are now (if this actually ends up panning out, of course). Just like the Musk-owned SpaceX, Twitter will also reportedly let employees cash in their stock grants at specified periods.

Additionally, Musk reportedly writes that he views Twitter as an “inverse startup” due to the whirlwind of “necessary” changes he made to the platform to save it from bankruptcy. However, the new $20 billion estimate likely reflects the challenges that emerged due to some of these radical changes, such as the new Blue with verification subscription that led to a wave of fake accounts and a “general amnesty” policy that brought back some of Twitter’s worst users.

Twitter has lost some of its biggest advertisers as a result, with a recent report from Vox indicating that over half of the top 1,000 advertisers on Twitter prior to Musk’s acquisition no longer show ads on the platform. This obviously hasn’t helped the company sort out some of its financial issues, including its mountain of debt and several unpaid bills that are allegedly owed to landlords, an advisory firm, a private jet company, and many others. Fidelity also slashed its stake in the company from $53.47 million to $23.46 million last year, while Twitter’s revenue dipped by about 40 percent year over year in December.