Elon Musk to Pay Over $200 Million to Fired Twitter Executives

Top Twitter Inc. executives could have passed for carrying bags of Elon Musk‘s cash when they left the company’s San Francisco offices on Thursday.

In Twitter’s TWTR merger with Musk’s X Holdings, chief executive officer Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and the director of legal policy Vijaya Gadde all received “golden parachute” clauses. According to Twitter’s statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk is required to give those three more than $204 million of the $44 billion he paid to officially acquire control of the social network on Thursday evening after firing all three.

About 1.2 million shares of Twitter are held by Parag Agrawal, Segal, and Gadde, with Gadde holding a $34.8 million stake in the company. Musk would buy the roughly $65 million interest held by the trio just like any other shareholder would.

The highest sum of money comes from accelerated vesting of future stock compensation, which was also accounted for in the merger agreement. The “Golden Parachute Compensation” provision in Twitter’s SEC filing—the agreement that Twitter shareholders approved—shows that, in the event of a termination, the three would automatically vest shares worth $119.6 million as severance, with Agrawal receiving the greatest payout of $56 million.

A year’s income as well as health benefits are also their rights. Agrawal’s base salary was $623,000 in 2021, while Segal and Gadde each received a base salary of $600,000.

Gadde is expected to leave Twitter with the largest sum of money in total: around $74 million. However, Agrawal and Segal aren’t far behind her, with respective earnings of about $65 million and $66 million.

The sum Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Inc. TSLA, +0.20% and the richest man in the world, agreed to pay for Twitter shares in April was $54.20; however, the stock has increased 26% over the previous month and finished Thursday at $53.70.

Elon Musk Twitter Deal Closes

The world’s richest person Elon Musk has completed his $44 billion (£38.1 billion) takeover of Twitter, according to a firm investor.

Several top executives, including the CEO, Parag Agrawal, are said to have been fired. It concludes a saga in which Twitter went to court to hold the billionaire to the terms of a takeover deal that he had tried to avoid.

Musk stated on Twitter that his interest in the company was not motivated by a desire to make money. Today he told in a tweet ‘the bird is freed’.

Elon Musk and Twitter Saga

The Tesla CEO’s purchase concludes a six-month saga in which Twitter initially rejected Musk’s purchase offer and then sued the billionaire after he indicated he would back out of the deal due to concerns about spam accounts and whistleblower claims about lax cybersecurity practices.

Musk’s interest in the platform has become a flashpoint in the debate over free expression in the digital age. Many conservatives have hailed Musk’s takeover as a corrective to Big Tech’s censorship of politically incorrect views. Critics have expressed concern that Musk’s reign could mean an open season for hate speech and misinformation.

Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” has criticized Twitter’s moderation policies and objected to censorship that exceeds legal requirements. Musk announced in May that he would reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which had been suspended for allegedly inciting violence in the aftermath of the January 6 riots at the US Capitol.

What was Elon Musk’s plan for Twitter?

Earlier, in a tweet in March, Musk described himself as a “free speech absolutist.” Musk tweeted last January, three days after President Trump was suspended from Twitter for “risk of further incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6 insurgency, “A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech.”

Musk’s hardline rhetoric on free speech contradicts Twitter’s recent evolution in this area. In 2018, the site was chastised after an MIT study found that misinformation spread faster on Twitter than true news. Since then, the company has increased its efforts to combat hate speech and increase user safety, including allowing users to flag false information. The controversial Twitter account Libs of TikTok was suspended twice for “hateful conduct,” and the company announced last week that it would prohibit advertisements that challenge widely accepted climate change research.

However, misinformation, propaganda, and extremist views are still prevalent on the site, particularly in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Musk has stated that hate speech will be prohibited, he has yet to define the gray areas, and it appears that more lax policies for content moderation may lead to more of the toxic behavior that Twitter has been attempting to eradicate for years.

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