How Twitter’s Staff Reacted at a Meeting About the Musk Deal

Twitter’s chief executive, Parag Agrawal, met with employees on Monday afternoon to discuss the sale of the social media company to Elon Musk. Mr. Agrawal was joined by Bret Taylor, the chair of Twitter’s board, for the employee question-and-answer session.

In a nearly hourlong meeting, employees grilled Mr. Agrawal and Mr. Taylor about how the deal came to be, what would happen to their compensation and jobs, and how Mr. Musk might change Twitter.

“It’s important to acknowledge that all of you have many different feelings about what is happening,” Mr. Agrawal said, according to two people who attended the meeting and were not authorized to speak publicly. “Some of you are concerned, some of you are excited, and some of you are waiting to see how this goes. I know this affects all of you personally.”

“It is an emotional day,” Mr. Taylor added, “and I just want to acknowledge it.” A Twitter spokesman declined to comment on the meeting.

Employees had been frustrated that Twitter management was silent as it hashed out the terms of the agreement with Mr. Musk, who has said that he would change much about the way Twitter operates, including the policies it uses to moderate tweets. In a statement on Monday, Mr. Musk said he would focus on “new features, making the open source algorithms to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”

Twitter workers have fretted about the impact on their stock compensation as Mr. Musk transformed Twitter into a private company, and about the cultural changes he would cause. But others have celebrated Mr. Musk’s bid for the company and said they believed his impact would be positive.

Mr. Agrawal told employees that their stock options would convert to cash when the deal with Mr. Musk closes, which he estimated would take three to six months. Employees would receive their same benefits packages for a year after the deal was finalized, Mr. Agrawal added, according to the two people familiar with the meeting.

In response to a question from an employee about whether former President Donald J. Trump would be allowed back on Twitter, Mr. Agrawal deferred, leaving the question for Mr. Musk to answer once he takes over the company. “We constantly evolve our policies,” Mr. Agrawal said. “Once the deal closes, we don’t know what direction this company will go in.”

Mr. Taylor addressed employees’ concerns about his silence. “I know there were a ton of twists and turns along the way, all of it in public, and I know we weren’t able to share all the info with you,” but he and Mr. Agrawal were bound by their fiduciary duty to shareholders to keep quiet and not share updates with employees, he said.

Twitter’s board of directors will be disbanded when the company goes private, Mr. Taylor said. Although the board had enacted a defensive tactic known as a “poison pill” to block Mr. Musk from acquiring more Twitter shares, Mr. Taylor said the move was not intended to prevent Mr. Musk from buying the company but simply to put the negotiation process back in the board’s control.

Mr. Agrawal told employees that they should continue to work on their current projects, and that he would try to arrange time for them to ask questions of Mr. Musk. He confirmed that he would keep working, too, remaining as chief executive at least until the deal with Mr. Musk closes.

“He wants Twitter to be a powerful, positive force in the world, just like all of us,” Mr. Agrawal said of Mr. Musk, noting that he had spoken with the billionaire only a few times and was drawing assumptions from those conversations. “He believes Twitter matters.”

He urged employees to “operate Twitter as we always have,” adding that “how we run the company, the decisions we make and the positive changes we drive — that will be on us, and under our control.”

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