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Elon Musk could avoid giving a payout of up to $90m (£78m) to sacked senior Twitter executives after dismissing them “for cause”, it has been reported.

The new owner of the social media giant sacked four senior executives, including chief executive Parag Agrawal and finance chief Ned Segal, on Thursday, as he moved quickly to assert control over the company following the completion of his $44bn takeover.

Mr Musk, who also ousted Twitter’s head of legal and its general counsel, did so “for cause”, The Information reported, allegedly in an apparent bid to avoid having to pay them multimillion-dollar severance packages.

It’s probably not so much severance packages. Rather, their restricted stock vests if they are fired. And if it’s for cause then the restricted stock doesn’t vest. Bit like their options don’t become exercisable although that’s a rather older for of executive payment.

And if their contracts say this is for so, and there is cause, then why not?

I also have a sneaking feeling – nothing more than an entirely unverifiable turning of the waters – that this was a goodly part of Musk’s dance here. By forcing Twitter’s board to sue him to complete the takeover he’s managed to stop them “negotiating” into having protected positions to smooth the path for the takeover. There aren’t any little extra clauses in the agreement that say “pay all restricted stock, vest all options” precisely because they’ve been chasing him, not he they.

Even if that’s not true it’s something I’d like to be true. Just because it would be very cool negotiating. Outmanouevre, screw, the corporate bureaucrats.

15 thoughts on “Snigger”

  1. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    He has been on twitter to say this story is completely false, so perhaps it’s just chatter. There seems to be a ‘Musk is an monster ‘ story evey day.

  2. Given that those 4 did their utmost to stitch Musk up in any way imaginable, that’s hardly surprising isn’t it?

    I’m mostly curious when he’s going to unblock Trump’s account. Even if trump is not going to use it ( his prerogative, after all..), it’s a solid symbolic gesture that he means business in cutting down the …ideologic deplatforming… that Twitter engaged in.

  3. Wouldn’t it be excellent if in the interests of promoting open debate on the platform, Musk were to introduce a £5 penalty for each account that users block?

  4. Bloke in North Dorset


    Not a bad idea. He’s already said he wants to charge blue checks $20 a month. It will be interesting to see who pays it and how they justify the congestive dissonance of hating Musk and all he stands for and at the same time paying him for the privilege of virtue signalling.

    I wonder if Spud will buy one?

  5. BiND – I doubt he will be able to afford a blue tick if he has to shell out for all his blockees. The alternative would be for him to unblock them all which which would be both quantitive and pleasing.

  6. I was rather hoping they would receive options to purchase stock at, say, a generous 10% discount to the $54.20 paid by Mr Musk.

  7. I’m hoping that Musk goes really bonkers and blows up Twitter completely. It would be an expensive way to achieve it, but the lefty head explosions would be worth it.

  8. I doubt Musk can fire them “for cause”.
    The directors’ fiduciary duty is to the company (the stock price) regardless of who the shareholders are at the time. They fought to get the best price for the shares, so did their duty.
    Sorry about your popcorn, Julia.

  9. Philip
    No need to be sorry for Julia, there’ll be more popcorn-worthy events just round the corner for sure.

  10. Musk hinted last week that Trump will be allowed back on Halloween, a nice bit of marketing with the choice of date

  11. He has been on twitter to say this story is completely false

    A la Mandy Rice-Davis, he would say that though. He knows this will inevitably lead to court cases as the pissed execs challenge to get their contractual stuff fulfilled, so keeping schtum and downplaying things which might look negative in a court case are absolutely the right things for Musk to do.

    As for director duties, sure the fiduciary duty is to protect the share price, but I doubt that will be the “for cause” that Musk is sacking them for. More likely it will be bringing the company into disrepute or some other nebulous aspect. The point is that rather than being straight up given their contractual exit Danegelt, they are having to go to court to attempt to obtain those rights.

    There are also morals clauses that come into play with US contracts, so it may well be that Musk has had his dirt diggers digging and has sufficient dirt to justify termination (even if arguably on the weak side).

    I’m guessing that it will all be settled out of court in a hush hush manner, so even if Musk loses there’s no clear record of such and the former executives will have ironclad NDA’s silencing them from speaking about any of it or even voicing an opinion on Musk at all.

    This might be Musk’s way of dealing with the issue of them speaking out about the goings on around the takeover, forcing them into a settlement agreement to silence them.

  12. @Galt, considering that even Tim Pool has commented on the “for cause” bit and put two and two together like Tim, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has also taken into account that if they want their money they’ll have to stay schtum.

  13. No wonder the Indian bitch in charge of censorship was so fucking pissed at the company all-hands meeting. She knew she was being fucked over and there was nothing that she could do about it short of long-winded and expensive legal action.

    Nice that these bastards are getting a taste of their own medicine.

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