Elon Musk has strongly hinted that his protracted and at times contentious $44bn (£38bn) acquisition of Twitter will close by its Friday deadline.

The Tesla CEO updated his Twitter bio to read “chief twit”, and on Wednesday Musk filmed himself entering Twitter’s headquarters carrying a kitchen sink.

His arrival carrying a sink may not go down well with its staff, after he reportedly told investors last week that he planned to axe 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, which if true would shrink the workforce to just over 2,000 staffers.

Kitchen sink

Musk was obviously in a playful mood on Wednesday when he paid a surprise visit to Twitter’s headquarters.

“Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” said the caption of a video that Musk tweeted, in which he was walking into the Twitter office carrying a sink in his hands.

He then tweeted that he was “meeting a lot of cool people at Twitter today!”

It is not clear if Musk met with Twitter’s board of directors or other executives, but there is likely to little love lost between them, after months of legal action which ended with Elon Musk earlier this month reserving his decision to walk away from the purchase and agreeing to buy the platform.

And court documents have revealed private messages, which showed that current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Elon Musj had fallen out, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey had sought to mediate.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal. Image credit: Twitter

The Wall Street Journal meanwhile has reported that banks have started to send $13 billion in cash backing Musk’s takeover of Twitter in a sign that the deal is set to close by Friday afternoon.

Job cuts

Meanwhile a picture posted by Dr. Carol X Lunz of Musk “meeting a lot of cool people at Twitter” showed no smiling Twitter staff.

Indeed many Twitter staff looked downright worried.

After the Washington Post article about Musk’s plans to cull 75 percent of the workforce at Twitter, the firm’s General Counsel Sean Edgett had sent staff an email saying there was ‘no plans for any company-wide layoffs”.

Human resources members also told staff that they were not planning for mass layoffs,

And now it seems that Musk told Twitter employees on Wednesday that he doesn’t plan to cut 75 percent of staff when he takes over, Bloomberg reported.

This statement will do little to reassure demoralised staff at the firm.

Since April, when the deal was first announced, many Twitter have left Twitter, publicly citing Musk’s actions and public pronouncements for their departure.

CEO Parag Agrawal in May was unable to provide worried staff members with much reassurance at a town hall meeting, admitting that the future was uncertain.

Some of these departures included high-level exits such as those of Ilya Brown, a vice-president of product management for health, conversation and growth; and Katrina Lane, vice-president of Twitter.

Elon Musk has done little to help staff morale after he engaged with a number of tweets openly critical of Twitter’s senior management – which earned him a rebuke from the platform’s former CEO Dick Costolo.

Twitter staff have long been concerned at Musk’s attitude to cutting headcount and other costs, decreasing content moderation and limiting remote working.

Elon Musk had already spoken with Twitter employees in a virtual ‘all hands’ meeting in mid June.

During that June meeting he reportedly touched upon potential layoffs, alien life, remote working, and free speech, but he reportedly failed to reassure Twitter staff about the future under his stewardship.

Musk is still expected to cut staff as part of the takeover, but it remains to be seen how many people will lose their jobs.

There is concern that if Musk undertakes a drastic headcount reduction, it will exacerbate the deterioration of the quality of content on the platform, as well as allow for more spam and other harmful content.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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