Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey had communicated privately about the social media platform well before the former made a $44 billion buyout offer, newly revealed court records show.
A set of text messages exchanged between the two appeared to show Dorsey having tried to get Musk onto Twitter’s board at least a year before the Tesla CEO offered to buy the company outright this past April.
In a text sent on March 26, 2022, Dorsey wrote to Musk that “a new platform is needed. It can’t be a company. That’s why I left.” He explained that he thinks Twitter should be an “open-sourced protocol” and can’t be based around an advertising model, as most social media companies are.
Musk replied by saying he would “like to help if I’m able,” to which Dorsey said that he had already tried to get the Tesla CEO involved with the company a year earlier. “You care so much, get its importance and could def help in immeasurable ways,” Dorsey told Musk before revealing that the “risk averse” board had rejected the idea.
Dorsey said that he thought it was “completely stupid and backwards” that the Twitter board saw the inclusion of Musk as adding “more risk” to the company and claimed that it was at this time he decided to step down as CEO of the platform, which he did in November 2021.
The text messages also suggest that Dorsey tried to get Musk to join the board while the company was battling with activist investor firm Elliott Management in 2020, whose founder Paul Singer was seeking to oust Dorsey as CEO and make Twitter’s business side more profitable. “Back when we had the activist come in, I tried my hardest to get you on our board and our board said no.” Dorsey wrote.
A little over a week after the text exchange, Musk announced that he planned to join the Twitter board. He eventually changed course and offered to buy the company outright in order to battle policies at the social media giant that he claimed were hostile to free speech.
However, after agreeing to purchase Twitter for $44 billion at $54.20 per share, Musk decided to back out of the deal a month later after the company’s stock price took a dive. Musk’s attorneys have argued that he had been misled about Twitter and have cited concerns about privacy, security, and the number of fake accounts on the platform.
Twitter is in turn suing the billionaire to try to force him to hold up his end of the agreement and complete the purchase at the initially proposed price. A trial is scheduled for mid-October at the Delaware Chancery Court.