It could be McDonald’s; it could be North Korea; it could be you.
There are moments in our lives—perhaps we are in the shower or struggling to sleep at 2 A.M.—when we think about all the ways we could influence the world. We find solutions to crypto volatility, world hunger and our neighbor’s ultra-dry plants. But the next morning we wake up and realize that installing a remote-controlled cloud over their plants might not be the most cost-effective or viable plan, and we move on. But not Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He thinks out loud and, occasionally, even sees through his solutions (read: Musk buying Twitter). But what drives his investment decisions and what might he buy next? Here’s what we think:
The Twitter deal
On April 25, 2022, Musk offered to buy Twitter for US$44 billion, with him owning a 9.2% passive stake in the company. The deal took the world by storm, with many people not believing it till it was actually happening. Skeptical investors and a pool of terrified Twitter employees weren’t thrilled by the deal, but Musk was.
After all, he had a goal in mind for how he wanted Twitter to look. In a statement, he noted, “I want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” He aspires to unlock Twitter’s full potential by departing from censorship and bolstering the cause of free speech.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola on the agenda?
Usually, the rule of thumb is to take Musk’s tweets with a pinch of salt. He has a tendency to joke a lot on the platform. However, following his Twitter deal, people are beginning to rethink this rule. Recently, Musk tweeted that the next company he will buy is Coca-Cola to “put cocaine back into it”. And if that wasn’t enough, McDonald’s is on his list, too, just so that he can “fix [their] ice cream machines”. To be fair, the latter would be great.
What’s more? The Twitterati seem to be on board on both fronts. While the Coca-Cola tweet garnered up to five million likes, the McDonald’s one received up to three million. Following that, people even chimed in with their own suggestions for how Musk could make the most of his potential McDonald’s acquisition, using it to end world hunger.
What is the logic behind Elon Musk’s “purchases”?
A close look at his investment choices shows that he picks his companies based on which ones he can fix. In the case of McDonald’s, it’s the ice cream machine, albeit jokingly (or is it?). As for what motivated him to buy Twitter, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, Matt Levine, told the New Yorker that he feels it was Musk’s drive to change how Twitter functions.
Along with that, he believes that Musk “gets a lot of pleasure and utility out of tweeting and wants it to be optimized for his use”. With Twitter, Musk’s goals are to make it open source so as to increase trust and take it private, out of the hands of Wall Street professionals. His decisions are rooted in how he feels about a company’s functioning, what he can do to improve it and, perhaps, how he can benefit from it.
Big promises, small action
As of June 8, 2022, the Twitter deal remains stuck as Musk threatens to walk away from it. He has expressed doubts over the information about fake accounts on the platform shared by the company. He feels that there are more than just 5 percent of spam accounts on the platform, and Twitter is not revealing a true picture. If he backs out of the deal, it could have serious consequences on his wallet and investors.
He would be liable to pay a fee of US$1 billion, and it might even affect the value of his other projects. Musk has all the trappings of either a super villain drunk with power attempting to take over the world or a superhero trying to improve it. In the eyes of many, he’s the latter. In fact, some of his followers are treating his lap as Santa’s as they read out their wishlist.
For instance, one Twitter user requested Musk to buy Fox while he was on his buying spree so that he could get a new season of his favorite show. Another person simply tweeted, “Please buy me”. We would like it if he could buy e-commerce giant Amazon and give us all monthly discount codes. Ending world hunger would be nice, too.
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