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Elon Musk ready to take on chief executive role at Twitter as shares in electric car firm Tesla drop

Elon Musk says he will take over as Twitter’s CEO. Photo: Joe Skipper/Reuters

Gareth CorfieldTelegraph Media Group Limited

Elon Musk will become Twitter’s temporary chief executive if his $44bn (€42bn) bid for the social media giant is successful, reports suggested yesterday.

It came after he raised $7bn of the cash needed for the audacious takeover bid, which has been accepted by Twitter’s board.

Mr Musk will add to his executive roles at Tesla and SpaceX, sources told CNBC, albeit on a temporary basis.

CNBC’s David Faber said: “He has told people he’ll be CEO for a short time after [the deal closes] and [will] then pick somebody [to run the company].”

Shares in Tesla dropped 8pc, weighed down by concerns about Mr Musk splitting his time between the companies.

Meanwhile the Federal Trade Commission was said to be reviewing the buyout, with a source telling Bloomberg that an internal deadline for a formal review will be reached within the next few weeks.

Parag Agrawal’s tenure as chief executive is expected to end when the buyout completes.

The potential change of command comes as regulatory filings revealed Mr Musk has raised $7.1bn of the $44bn he needs to take full control of Twitter, including a $1bn commitment from Oracle’s Larry Ellison, as well as tech investment firm Andreessen Horowitz and cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

Binance chief Changpeng Zhao said: “We hope to be able to play a role in bringing social media and web3 together and broadening the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology.”

Mr Musk’s previous $12.5bn margin loan, secured against his Tesla shares, has been halved to $6.25bn. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of Twitter’s largest current shareholders, has also agreed to back the deal if he retains his $1.8bn stake in Twitter.

The prince was an early opponent of the buyout, saying last month he did not believe that Mr Musk’s bid properly valued Twitter “given its growth prospects... I reject this offer”.

He tweeted yesterday: “I believe you will be an excellent leader for @Twitter to propel & maximise its great potential.”

Mr Musk’s maximum liability if the deal falls through is $1bn, revealed in previous regulatory filings.

Mr Musk also revealed he is in ongoing talks with Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, about raising finance.

The two have exchanged supportive messages on the social media site about changing Twitter’s content moderation policies.

Meanwhile, the electric car revolution could take the shine off Tesla as more and more companies enter the market, Bill Gates has warned.

Experts have been predicting that Tesla shares will triple by 2025, but last week Mr Musk accused the Microsoft co-founder of shorting shares in the electric carmaker, which he argued undermined Mr Gates’s environmental philanthropy.

However Mr Gates hit back at the accusation, arguing that shorting Tesla was not about climate change but about the electric car boom leading to a more crowded market.

“The popularity of electric cars will lead to more competition for selling those cars,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today progamme.

“So there’s a difference between electric cars being adopted, and companies becoming infinitely valuable.”

The world’s largest companies are throwing money at environmentally friendly motoring.

Tesla hit a new UK high last month when its Model Y and Model 3 cars were revealed as the two top-selling new cars in the country. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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