Twitter Posts $270 Million Loss In First Earnings Report Since Elon Musk ‘Terminated’ $44 Billion Takeover Deal

 

San Francisco-based Twitter reported revenue of $1.2 billion in the second quarter, falling short of average analyst estimates calling for $1.3 billion and slipping 1% from the same period last year.

The company also reported a worse-than-expected loss of $270 million, or 35 cents per share—compared to expectations for a loss of 7 cents per share and a profit of $66 million in the second quarter last year.

In its earnings release, Twitter blamed the disappointing performance on advertising industry headwinds associated with broader economic concerns and uncertainty around Musk’s deal to buy Twitter and take it private.

The firm says it’s not hosting an earnings call, issuing a shareholder letter or sharing financial projections with the deal still in flux.Twitter also disclosed it spent about $33 million related to the acquisition in the second quarter and $19 million on costs associated with layoffs, including some affecting about a third of the firm’s recruiting team.

Twitter stock futures were down 2% to about $38.50 within minutes of the announcement; shares have plunged more than 40% over the past year, while the S&P 500 has fallen about 16%.

Twitter stock has been on a wild ride since Musk acquired a 9% stake in the firm in April, announced a bid to acquire it at a massive premium weeks later and then decided he was “terminating” the deal earlier this month. Shares skyrocketed as much as 60% as the deal gained traction, but soon started collapsing as Musk voiced concerns about fake and spam accounts on the platform. Though Twitter’s board had already approved the takeover, Musk backed out on July 8, pushing shares down nearly 40% from their April highs.

On July 12, Twitter’s board sued Musk for backing out of the deal, asking a Delaware judge to order the billionaire to move forward with the agreement. The trial is being scheduled for October, according to Twitter on Friday. In a note to clients, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives called Musk’s decision “a disaster scenario for Twitter,” predicting a long legal battle for Twitter to either force the deal through or get Musk to pay a $1 billion termination penalty.

$30 billion. That’s Twitter’s market value on Friday, roughly 22% below Musk’s proposed takeover bid.

I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill..

Source: Twitter Posts $270 Million Loss In First Earnings Report Since Elon Musk ‘Terminated’ $44 Billion Takeover Deal

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Twitter and Elon Musk are scheduled to face off in a five-day trial in October over the billionaire’s change of heart about buying the social media company for $44 billion. The decision from Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, the chief judge at Delaware’s Court of Chancery, was a blow to Musk, whose lawyers sought a trial early next year. But with the Twitter deal now in limbo, McCormick agreed to fast-track the trial during a hearing over Zoom on Tuesday.

“The reality is that delay threatens irreparable harm to the sellers and Twitter,” McCormick said in her ruling from the bench. “The longer the delay, the greater the risk.” Earlier this month, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he was calling off the deal because of concerns over how many accounts on Twitter are fake or spam. Last week, Twitter sued Musk to force him to go through with the purchase, accusing him of using the issue of automated bot accounts as a pretext to get out of a deal that was no longer good for him financially.

The October trial date is a win for Twitter, which had requested an expedited four-day trial in September. The uncertainty caused by Musk’s threat to pull out of the deal “inflicts harm on Twitter every hour of every day,” Bill Savitt, Twitter’s lead lawyer, said at the hearing. Musk’s lawyers argued they need more time to investigate his concerns over Twitter’s user figures, and that a trial should not take place before February.

Andrew Rossman, Musk’s lawyer, called Twitter’s request for a September trial “completely unjustifiable,” saying it would take months to analyze Twitter’s data and consult experts. He said Twitter had already dragged its feet about sharing information that Musk said he needed to vet the company’s estimates of fake accounts.

“The answers that he got were alarming,” Rossman said. “The runaround that he got from the company was even more alarming.” Savitt accused Musk of trying to “sabotage” the deal and run out the clock past April 2023, when the $13 billion Musk has lined up from banks to fund the deal expires.

“Mr. Musk has made perfectly clear he has no intention of keeping any of his promises,” Savitt said. “Candidly, we suspect that Mr. Musk wants to delay this trial long enough to never really face a reckoning.”Twitter argued Musk’s fixation on bots is a distraction from the question facing the court: whether Musk broke his legal agreement to buy the company.

Twitter has long said that it estimates less than 5% of daily users are not real people. Musk says he believes the true figure is much higher, but has not presented any evidence for his claim that Twitter is misrepresenting the prevalence of fake accounts on the platform.

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Twitter’s Lawsuit Against Elon Musk: The Big Picture The Wall Street Journal

Devin Nunes drops California lawsuit against man he claims was ‘Twitter cow’s’ spouse The Tribune, California

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Twitter Will Add Warning Label to Tweets it Deems ‘Viral Misinformation’

Twitter recently announced its new “crisis misinformation policy” which will seek to suppress posts the company deems “viral misinformation.” The update will allow Twitter employees to label, and censor posts they determine to be misleading or false. The company claimed that the new tools will only be used in the case of a “humanitarian crisis.”

“Today, we’re introducing our crisis misinformation policy – a global policy that will guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises,” Twitter wrote in a blog post Thursday. “In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities.”

Twitter went on to define such crises as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”“This definition is consistent with the United Nations’ definition of a humanitarian crisis and other humanitarian assessments,” the company added.Hoax tweets and other misinformation regularly go viral during emergencies, as users rush to share unverified information. The sheer speed of events makes it difficult to implement normal verification or fact-checking systems, creating a significant challenge for moderators.

As part of its new “misinformation policy”, Twitter will employ a variety of tools, including the removal tweets from recommendations and disabling engagement on “misleading” posts. In addition to a label, users will not be able to like, retweet or reply to flagged tweets.“To reduce potential harm, as soon as we have evidence that a claim may be misleading, we won’t amplify or recommend content that is covered by this policy across Twitter – including in the Home timeline, Search, and Explore,” Twitter explained.

“In addition, we will prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified, official government accounts.”Under the new policy, tweets classified as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or banned; instead, Twitter will add a warning label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the existing labels for explicit imagery).

The tweets will also be blocked from algorithmic promotion.The stronger standards are meant to be limited to specific events. Twitter will initially apply the policy to content concerning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the company expects to apply the rules to all emerging crises going forward.

For the purposes of the policy, crisis is defined as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”The policy comes at a delicate time for Twitter, with the company’s approved sale to Elon Musk in a confusing limbo.

Musk has pledged to scale back moderation systems at the company in favor of a maximalist view of free speech. But with Musk claiming the deal is on hold pending a bot investigation, it’s unclear when or how his ideas will be implemented.The social media giant infamously flagged the New York Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story just weeks before the election.In order to suppress the story — which included emails, text messages, photos and financial documents detailing foreign business dealings of the Biden family — Twitter cited its “hacked materials” policy. This policy, like many sections of Twitter’s terms of service, has been applied selectively on numerous occasions.

In a recent example, an illegally obtained list of donations to Canada’s Freedom Convoy protesters was allowed to be freely shared on the platform. The list included names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who donated as little as $25 to the protest movement. Despite the fact that the information was obtained through a hack, Twitter took no action.Many believe Twitter’s “crisis misinformation policy” will be yet another policy that is selectively applied to conservatives.

This would give the San Francisco-based platform even more power to meddle in election outcomes, as they did in 2020. A poll conducted by The Post Millennial this past March found that 16% of Biden voters would not have voted for him if they were aware of the laptop scandal.

Source: Twitter Will Add Warning Label to Tweets it Deems ‘Viral Misinformation’

More contents:

Tesla Stock Closes Down More Than 12% After Musk’s Twitter Deal

Tesla stock closed down more than 12% on Tuesday as the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped nearly 4%. Other mega-cap tech stocks like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook parent Meta shed more than 3%. Shares of electric-vehicle makers Rivian and Lucid also closed down 9.5% and 8.7%, respectively.

The declines come just a day after Twitter’s board approved Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the company, showing some of the fall off may be a reflection of investor concerns with the deal. Musk has secured $25.5 billion of fully committed debt, including $12.5 billion in loans against his Tesla stock. The deal also includes $21 billion in equity.

Musk’s understanding of free speech on a global level is somewhat ‘sophomoric,’ says NYT columnist. Despite being the world’s richest person, much of Musk’s wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, meaning he would likely have to borrow against his holdings to fund the deal.

Tesla investors also may be concerned about the possible distractions that could come from owning a platform like Twitter. Musk has appeared to want to heavily influence the company’s operations, which could lead to a time crunch for him. Assuming the deal closes, Musk would be in charge of Tesla, Twitter and SpaceX. He also owns two smaller ventures, the Boring Company and Neuralink.

Automakers, including Tesla, are struggling with the rising costs of raw materials that go into batteries, and a semiconductor chip shortage exacerbated by the Covid restrictions in Shanghai. Tesla said in its first-quarter 2022 earnings report on April 20 that, while automotive revenue was up 87% from the year-earlier period to $16.86 billion, the company lost about a month of “build volume” in Shanghai because of Covid shutdowns.

Tesla generated around $4.65 billion in China in the first quarter of 2022. The Chinese market now accounts for 24.8% of Tesla revenue. Tesla has also been exporting cars from China to the broader Asian and European markets. While it recently opened a new factory in Austin, Texas and another in Brandenburg, Germany, the company is just beginning to increase production in these locations.

“For most vehicles, our delivery wait times are quite long. Those cars delivered in Q1 generally carried pricing set in prior quarters, and at levels lower than cars being ordered today,” CFO Zach Kirkhorn said on the company’s earnings call. “Production is resuming at limited levels, and we’re working to get back to full production as quickly as possible,” he later added.

Tesla doesn’t expect to raise prices again soon, either. Musk said on the same call, “The current prices are for a vehicle delivered in the future, like six to 12 months from now.”

By: Jessica Bursztynsky & Lora Kolodny

Source: Tesla stock closes down more than 12% after Musk’s Twitter deal

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More contents:

Twitter Stock: Elon Musk Could Be The Saviour It Needs Right Now

The billionaire investor and CEO of Tesla announced an offer of $54.20 for Twitter stock, which he later called his “best and final” bid for the company.

Musk wants to buy Twitter personally. Tesla is not involved in the deal, although there has been speculation that he will merge the two operations with his other businesses, including SpaceX, into one single holding company, after registering a company called X Holdings.

Musk’s offer for Twitter stock looks like a done deal

As the richest person in the world, Musk shouldn’t have any trouble raising funding for the deal. According to a regulatory filing, he has already lined up $25.5bn in debt financing from key banking partners and is looking to provide $21bn of equity for the deal himself. These funds may come from Tesla’s controversial 2018 bonus scheme.

I say he shouldn’t have any trouble raising the funds as there’s no guarantee Musk’s banking partners will stump up the cash. Part of the debt financing is a margin loan of $12.5bn secured against his stake in Tesla. Equity market volatility could send bankers running if Tesla shares suddenly plunge in value.

There are plenty of other hurdles the deal will have to overcome before the finish line, but where there’s a will there’s a way. While the current market price of Twitter stock is below the offer price of $54.20 (suggesting investors are sceptical), Musk has the resources to push through any deal.

Most importantly it seems as if he has won over the support of Twitter’s management, which only last week tried to block any potential deal by putting in place a so-called poison pill. This would have diluted the billionaire’s stake if he’d bought more than 15% of the business without their approval.

Investors should take the money and run

With tech stocks across the market facing heavy selling pressure, Musk has emerged as a white knight for Twitter’s investors. His interest in the business has shielded its shareholders from the wider market sell-off. As the tech-heavy Nasdaq index has plunged 20% this year, Twitter stock has jumped 20%.

Still, there are many reasons why the deal could fall apart, and considering the current market conditions, there is no telling where Twitter could end up if it does.

As uncertainty prevails, the best option for shareholders may be to take the money and run.

Source: Twitter stock: Elon Musk could be the saviour it needs right now | MoneyWeek

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Critics:

As of now, Twitter is still a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. This means that for roughly ~$50 (approx. stock price), you can own a small slice of the social media giant.

However, once Musk follows through on his promise to take the company private, the ability to buy more shares will be over. But even though the deal was struck today, you’ll still be able to buy or sell Twitter stock until the deal is closed.

Dan Raju, CEO of Tradier, tells Select what Twitter shareholders should keep in mind:

  • If the deal is done today, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to buy and sell the stock. However, he strongly believes the share price will likely become “volatile” between the time of announcing the deal to officially delisting the stock.
  • Raju said it would be “weeks rather than days” before it’s delisted on the NYSE, and it’s “hard to guess” how long the regulatory process will take.
  • His analysis says the acquisition is “good for the stock” and traders could look into call options as a way to bet on the positive reaction if the deal is struck.

So if you desire to have an ownership stake in the future of Twitter before it’s taken private, you’ll need to open a brokerage account where you can buy and hold your stocks. It’s free to open an account with brokerages like Fidelity, Robinhood or Vanguard, which let you buy and sell stock for free.

From there, simply connect a checking account to fund the purchase. Lastly, search the ticker symbol for Twitter, which is “TWTR”, and click the buy button. You can also indirectly own shares of Twitter through ETFs and index funds, which are portfolios of companies compressed into easy-to-buy shares. For example, the widely-known S&P 500 index is made up of just over 500 companies, and Twitter is one of them.

However, be aware that purchasing individual stocks, including Twitter, can be risky — buying Twitter stock above $54.20 could result in a loss.

More contents:

Tesla Stock Is Falling. How It Stands to Gain From Sale of Twitter to Musk

The Dow Is Dropping, Microsoft Earnings Are Coming—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today 

Why Twitter’s Sale to Musk Was the ‘Least Risky Choice’

Jeff Bezos Weighs in on Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover: ‘Did the Chinese Government Just Gain a Bit of Leverage?’

Elon Musk’s Twitter Buy Has at Least One Fan—Founder Jack Dorsey 

A Big Tech encore and Twitter showdown will shape biggest week of earnings season   

Elon Musk Will Make an Indelible Mark on Twitter, Experts Say 

Twitter agrees to be bought by Elon Musk for $44 billion

Reaction to Twitter and Musk split along party lines —‘An encouraging day for free speech’ or ‘a platform where only the loudest can be heard’?

It looks like nothing will stop Elon Musk from owning Twitter

Elon is the singular solution I trust,’ says Jack Dorsey of Twitter takeover plan

Twitter’s Embrace of Elon Musk’s Bid Suggests a First-Quarter Disappointment

How Elon Musk’s Twitter Offer Went From No Go to Reality

Tesla Stock Dropped After Elon Musk’s Deal for Twitter. Blame Margin Borrowing

Twitter Inc. stock outperforms market on strong trading day

Even if Musk would let Trump back on Twitter, the former president and Truth Social’s Devin Nunes say he’s not interested

Dow stages biggest intraday turnaround since February as investors brush off concerns about China’s COVID-19 lockdowns  

The Dow Rebounded, Twitter Jumped—and What Else Happened in the Stock Market Today

Twitter’s board accepts Elon Musk’s offer — and users are either celebrating ‘free speech’ or saying ‘RIP Twitter’

Twitter’s Capitulation to Musk Is Just Another Sign the Stock Market Is in Trouble

These numbers show the company has plenty of life

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Why Jack Dorsey’s First-Tweet NFT Plummeted 99% In Value In A Year

In December 2020, Jack Dorsey created a non-fungible token (NFT) out of his first-ever Twitter post. He turned a static image of a five-word tweet into a digital file stored on a blockchain, and voila, an NFT was born. A few months later, the image sold for a stunning $2.9 million. Yet in an auction this past week, no one bid more than $280 for it. And even current bids on OpenSea only amount to about $10,000, a 99% drop in value. What happened?

Dorsey’s NFT initially garnered little interest, with some people bidding a few thousand dollars in December 2020—a time when NFTs still had few believers. But in March 2021, the market entered hype mode, with monthly sales on OpenSea jumping to nearly $150 million, up from just $8 million two months prior.

Iranian crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi got swept up in the frenzy, buying Dorsey’s NFT for $2.9 million. He tells Forbes he paid such a hefty sum due to the NFT’s uniqueness and association with such a valuable company as Twitter.

While you could argue that Dorsey’s first-tweet NFT has historical significance, the $2.9 million price tag is nearly impossible to justify. The bubble price Estavi paid epitomizes the greater fool theory at work. “What is the utility of that NFT?

Does Jack Dorsey take you out to dinner in Silicon Valley?” says Mitch Lacsamana, an NFT collector and head of marketing for an NFT trading group. “What is the real value proposition here? I think time has probably told us, and it’s probably nothing.”

On April 5, Estavi put the NFT up for auction for 14,969 ether, or about $50 million. Embarrassingly, no one bid more than $280. Estavi says “no one knows” why the bids came in so low. It seems that few people took it seriously. “Bidders just realized what it was–a publicity stunt. A way to get exposure,” says Blake Moser, an NFT collector who has nearly 400 NFTs. “I do think Sina Estavi accomplished what he was looking for–exposure to his NFT.”

Estavi has indeed gotten attention, but he seems severely out of touch with the rapidly changing NFT market. “The market isn’t ready to jump into literally anything that a celebrity or someone of high stature might release,” Lacsamana says. “I think last year was a really good time for that, but a lot of people have grown weary of cash-grab tactics.”

While the failed auction shows that NFT hype has waned, the market is still very active, with trading volume hovering between $2 to $3 billion a month on OpenSea, up from $150 million a year ago. Prices for some NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club remain near all-time highs.

Estavi’s NFT saga seems to be a case of an ill-advised $2.9 million purchase, buyer’s remorse and a new bid for attention. Estavi himself has a sketchy history. His startup, Oracle Bridge, says it will allow blockchain platforms to ingest data more easily, but today it seems to be little more than a white paper.

Estavi also claims he was arrested last year in Iran and had to shut down the company for nine months while he was in prison. “They accused me of disrupting the economic system,” he says vaguely. Now he’s trying to start the company up again. Over the past day, bids for the Dorsey tweet NFT have risen to about $10,000. Estavi says he won’t sell for anything less than $50 million.

I lead our fintech coverage at Forbes and also cover crypto. I edit our annual Fintech 50 and 30 Under 30 for fintech, and I’ve written frequently about leadership and corporate

Source: Why Jack Dorsey’s First-Tweet NFT Plummeted 99% In Value In A Year

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NFTs are traded in NFT marketplaces, which have structured platforms like eBay’s. Most NFTs are sold via auctions, although some sell at fixed prices. Some marketplaces specialize in a type of NFTs, e.g., art, games, sports, whereas others sell everything.

If you wish to create a new NFT (called minting) you can do so through any of the marketplaces. The largest marketplace is OpenSea, which in 2021 had about a 90% market share by dollar trading volume across marketplaces. 

There are fees for creating and trading NFTs, from upfront account setup fees and minting fees to sales fees. If you are going to create or trade NFTs, make sure you know a marketplace’s fee structure. To get a sense of fees collected, OpenSea collected about 8% of its sales volume in fees in January.

There may also be royalty fees (usually 10-30% of the sales price) that go to the original creator of an NFT every time a transaction in that NFT takes place. 

Through 2021, the top ten NFT collections had over $15 billion in historical trading value and around a 60% share of the total NFT market. The dominance of a few collections in the market is most likely due to a preference by NFT speculators to trade within collections. It is easier to value an NFT from a collection because there are other NFTs to compare it to.

It follows that, of the money a minority of traders make speculating in NFTs, most of it is from trading within collections. Clearly, informed traders know where the money is, but it is hard to believe that the market can absorb as many collections as there are today: 3,264, up from 193 a year ago. At some point, having so many collections defeats their purpose.

The evidence from the previous study is clear: most NFT speculative traders do not earn a positive return. From an investing perspective the results are unfortunate, but not surprising. Another aspect of trading in NFTs is that fraud within the NFT ecosystem is said to be rampant. The potential for “bad actors” to engage in nefarious selling and trading of NFTs (including counterfeit tokens or assets they don’t actually own) was described as a “contagion” by the CEO of one NFT platform.

The result is a situation where your NFT purchase could end up being worthless. Combining the difficulty of earning a positive return and the inherent risks, NFT trading is not a good proposition, so stay away. They have all the signs of being an investing fad that will likely pass.

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