Elon Musk, Twitter, bankruptcy and a continuing saga of F’ing around and finding out

In spite of the commonly used figure of speech (“A Jack of all trades, but a Master of none“), Elon Musk and his fans argue that Musk has proven that he can be both a Jack and a Master of all trades since he’s simultaneously built SpaceX and Telsa into multi-billion dollar enterprises, all while keeping a colorful social media feed on his October 28, 2022 acquisition, Twitter.

But Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter brings to mind another, more crass, maxim: “fuck around and find out.” According to Urban Dictionary, to “fuck around and find out” is defined as “A warning given when someone is acting foolishly and about to face consequences, commonly used in the setting of a bar or street fight.”

Within two weeks of acquiring Twitter for $44 billion ($54.20 per share), Musk demanded verified accounts pay $8 per month to maintain a verified status, terminated nearly 50% of its workforce and informed the remaining employees that Twitter’s bankruptcy was a possibility. This “bankruptcy” talk may not sit well with Twitter investors such as Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, who rejected selling his 35 million shares of Twitter (and receiving $1.897 billion) in order to keep a large equity position in Musk’s wholly-owned acquisition vehicle, X Holdings I, Inc., because a Twitter bankruptcy would render the prince’s equity worthless. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey also has a significant equity stake in the privately-held Twitter, and a Twitter bankruptcy would obliterate a large portion of Mr. Dorsey’s wealth.

Dorsey, Prince Al Waleed, and the debt holders that helped finance Musk’s Twitter acquisition all stand to lose significant sums of money if the Twitter titanic isn’t righted in the near term. It’s too early to know whether any of these investors have securities fraud claims against Musk and Twitter, but it’s not too early to appreciate the risk to these investors’ money. In spite of the default risks, Musk continues to joke on the Twitter platform with memes such as this:

While Musk has been f’ing around with Twitter, his primary jewel, Tesla, has lost nearly a half a TRILLION dollars in market cap, and Musk has lost $70 billion personally. This is a tough way to find out whether f’ing around being a “Chief Twitt” is worth it.