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Elon Musk’s venture into social media, rebranded as X from Twitter, faces a tumultuous journey. Valued at $19 billion, a stark contrast to the $44 billion price tag just a year ago, the company grapples with staff layoffs, dwindling ad revenue, and $13 billion in debt. Musk’s ambitious pivot towards subscriptions yields underwhelming results, with less than 1% of users on board. Nevertheless, he aims to transform X into a multifaceted “everything app,” competing with industry giants like Google and Microsoft. With a steep drop in value, the prospect of taking X public remains uncertain, leaving its future hanging in the balance.
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Elon Musk’s X Is Worth Less Than Half of Price He Paid for Twitter
By Ed Ludlow and Aisha Counts
X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, is worth less than half of what Elon Musk paid for it a year ago.
Restricted stock units awarded to employees value the company at $19 billion, or $45 a share, according to a person familiar with the matter. A year ago, Musk bought Twitter Inc. for $44 billion.
Since the takeover, most of Twitter’s staff was laid off or resigned. Musk renamed the company X, changed some of its content rules and lost more than half of its advertising revenue.
Fortune earlier reported on the valuation, citing an internal memo.
The company has struggled financially under Musk’s ownership. At the time of the takeover, Twitter was valued at $44 billion, based on a mix of debt and equity. Musk’s purchase saddled the company with $13 billion in debt and over time his erratic decision making and looser content-safety rules have driven away advertisers, contributing to a 60% drop in sales. X also owes about $1.2 billion in interest payments per year on its debt, Bloomberg earlier estimated.
Musk’s plan for X is to shift away from advertising toward paid subscriptions. But so far the company has persuaded less than 1% of users to sign up for its monthly premium service, translating to less than $120 million annually, Bloomberg has estimated.
Musk has also been vocal about turning X into an “everything app” that could generate revenue from features like shopping and payments. The company rolled out audio and video calling earlier this month, has a beta version of a hiring service and announced plans to launch a news wire. Musk told employees that X plans to compete with Google’s YouTube, Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn and Cision’s PR Newswire.
When Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino met with bankers this month to lay out the company’s financial plan, she shared ideas for X’s new products and services, including the launch of advertising tiers. In the past, Musk has hinted that he’d like to take X public, but the company’s steep drop in value could make that difficult.
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© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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