Newly revealed text messages between Elon Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal reveal that the two men briefly bonded over their love of engineering in the spring – at least until Musk publicly tweeted this message on April 9: ‘Is Twitter dying? ,
The relationship was sparked when Twitter offered the billionaire Tesla CEO a board seat after learning he had bought a large stake in the company. In the text, Agarwal questioned Musk about the public criticism on Twitter, describing the comments as unhelpful and disruptive at the company.
“What did you do this week?” Less than a minute later, Musk responded sternly. “I am not joining the board. This is a waste of time. Twitter will offer to go private.”
The messages, revealed in a Delaware court filing ahead of the high-stakes trial, offer a window into Twitter’s delicate negotiations with Musk. At the time, he not only invested heavily in Twitter shares, but was also publicly pitching ideas to improve or launch alternatives.
Twitter and Musk are due in court on October 17 for a trial that will decide whether the world’s richest man will be forced to complete his $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,58,800 crore) acquisition of Twitter. The document was first revealed on @chancery_daily, a Twitter account that closely follows the Delaware Chancery Court, where the five-day hearing is scheduled to take place.
“I have tons of ideas, but lmk if I’m trying too hard,” Musk texted Agarwal on April 7, shortly after Twitter offered him a board seat. “I just want to make Twitter as awesome as possible.”
Aggarwal invited Musk to “treat me like an engineer” rather than a CEO as they worked on technical questions together. At one point, Musk wrote, “I love our conversation!”
On April 11, two days after Musk’s “Twitter Dying” tweet, Agarwal announced that Musk would not be joining the board. On April 14, Twitter disclosed in a securities filing that Musk had offered to buy the company for around $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,58,800 crore). After first trying to fend off a hostile takeover, Twitter agreed to the deal on April 25.
The text exchange was included in redacted documents filed early Thursday after Musk’s lawyers challenged Twitter’s claim that it was sensitive information and could not be made public. Many of the “public versions” of those Twitter documents contain wholesale redactions and are almost completely blacked out. In contrast, there were no documents containing the Musk and Agarwal texts.
The archive of text messages also includes Musk’s conversations with Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey was enthusiastic about Musk’s involvement, saying that while the board was “terrible”, Agarwal was an “incredible engineer”.
The texts include Musk’s opinions on Twitter with several people, including podcaster Joe Rogan, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, a venture capitalist, and Musk’s own brother.
As lawyers continue to argue over which documents to allow as evidence in the case, more witnesses are appearing for depositions.
Among those fired Thursday was whistleblower Peter “Maj” Zatko, the former Twitter security chief who testified to Congress earlier this month about what he described as Twitter’s weak cyber defenses. Musk’s legal team hopes that Zatko’s knowledge of Twitter’s problems with fake and spam accounts will bolster its main argument for terminating Musk’s contract.
Kasturi may be deposed next week.