Shortly after taking over the online service for around 44 billion dollars last October, the tech billionaire had already cut the number of employees by around half in a first step. It had been "painful" to lay off so many people, but without radical cost-cutting measures, Twitter had only had "four months to live," Musk said.
Before the takeover, Twitter made almost all of its business from advertising revenue - for example, when companies pay for their tweets to appear in users' news streams. Musk's purchase was followed by an exodus of ad customers who feared a negative environment for their tweets under the controversial entrepreneur. Revenue halved, as Musk admitted at the time. At the same time, Twitter has to make interest payments on around twelve billion dollars in loans for the takeover.
Musk said in the BBC interview that advertisers had returned or were planning to return. There are more ads again and Twitter has only minimal losses, he added, without giving any figures. Since the company is no longer listed on the stock exchange, it no longer has to publish quarterly reports.
Musk had tried to get out of the deal relatively quickly after the purchase announcement in spring 2022. He pointed to an allegedly high number of automated bot accounts, which meant that the price he proposed was no longer justified. The $44 billion was a hefty premium on Twitter's stock market value at the time.
Twitter management, which initially resisted the takeover attempt but was committed to the interests of shareholders after reaching an agreement with Musk, dragged him into court. Asked if he ended up completing the Twitter purchase only because a judge would have forced him to do it anyway, Musk said in the BBC interview, "Yes, that's the reason." (SDA)