Twitter: Dealing with Elon Musk may come under national security review

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and several of his businesses, including satellite internet service Starlink, may come under a national security review in the United States, according to a Bloomberg report. It would add a dramatic dimension to the billionaire’s planned takeover of the social media company for $44 billion and could even end it.

Highlights

  • According to Bloomberg, the Biden government is considering this investigation after Mr. Musk cut off Ukraine’s access to the Starlink satellite internet service unless the US government agreed to foot the bill, to which he backed down.
  • Joe Biden’s officials are also reportedly concerned about Musk’s recent pro-Russia proposal to end the war, which has sparked diplomatic anger in Ukraine.
  • The involvement of several foreign investors in Elon Musk’s plan to acquire Twitter, including Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and Binance cryptocurrency exchange, owned by Chinese-born billionaire Changpeng Zhao, is also raised concerns, the report added.
  • The involvement of some foreign investors may allow the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review the transaction to identify potential risks to national security. Such an analysis is typically used to evaluate the purchase of a US entity by a foreign buyer.

main quote

During Tesla’s third quarter earnings conference call, Musk said, “Obviously, myself and other investors are overpaying Twitter right now.” He added: “Twitter’s long-term potential is, in my view, orders of magnitude greater than its current value. »

Tangent

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Musk plans to lay off nearly 75% of Twitter’s workforce after closing a deal to buy the company. Musk has yet to comment on the matter, but an internal memo sent by Twitter said he had “no confirmation of buyer plans” and urged his employees not to follow “rumors.” or leaked documents. If the reported layoffs come true, Musk may struggle to address spam and bots on Twitter, a key issue he has repeatedly raised.

Basic Context

Earlier this month, Musk tweeted an unsolicited proposal to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The proposal appeared to meet many of Moscow’s demands, including guaranteed Ukrainian neutrality, a UN-organized referendum in the four occupied Ukrainian provinces that would allow them to rejoin Russia, and formal recognition of Crimea as part of Russian territory despite Moscow’s illegal annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014. Echoing claims by Putin and the Kremlin, Musk’s tweet said Crimea has officially been part of Russia since 1783, “until Khrushchev’s error”. This drew immediate condemnation from Ukrainian officials who accused him of being a Russian propaganda parrot. A week later, according to CNN, Musk asked the Pentagon to cover the costs of operating the Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine, saying his company SpaceX would no longer continue. This has raised concerns in Ukraine, whose military has used the satellite network as an important means of communication. Musk eventually backtracked publicly, tweeting, “To hell with it all … even though Starlink is still losing money … we’ll continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free. »

Forbes rating

We estimate Elon Musk’s current net worth at $219.3 billion (222.345 billion euros), making him the richest person in the world.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Siladitya Ray

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