Elon Musk also threatened to buy my company. Here’s how we handled it

Elon Musk’s unsolicited bid to buy Twitter Inc. is a triggering occasion for me and my former colleagues. In 2019, I used to be working because the digital editor of the London-based New Scientist, the weekly science journal, when Musk tweeted idly about how a lot it would price to buy it.

Barbarians on the gate? Try billionaire within the DMs.

Occasional interactions with @ElonMusk weren’t new to me or my workforce. One coworker used to direct-message him each few months asking for an interview—and to sneakily promote my colleague’s e-book. Sometimes Musk even responded, claiming “New Scientist is my favorite periodical.” Little did we know this flirtation would lead to a takeover supply, on Twitter, for our science journal one spring day in 2019.

After complaining about our publication’s paywall, Musk requested how a lot it would price to simply buy New Scientist outright. Ultimately, a deal didn’t occur—although the company was later bought to the Daily Mail Group for about 70 million kilos ($92 million). But Musk’s supply despatched administration scrambling over how to reply.

Here’s what my workforce discovered from the expertise:

1. Do an audit of your Twitter following

The early warning signal of an impending buyout supply from Musk is that he’s following your account. Is he @-ing you with cryptic tweets? Does he DM you? These are the important thing indicators of a Musk hostile takeover that you just and your social media managers needs to be searching for.

2. If Musk tweets that he desires to buy your company, don’t panic

Good recommendation in any circumstance. Particularly one the place the destiny of your company rests on the whims of the world’s richest man—with a Twitter following of 81.7 million—who appears to get pleasure from chaos.

3. Trust your social media supervisor

That underpaid and annoyed one that sits in a nook of your office all day considering of the most effective GIFs to ship on Slack? They at the moment are crucial individual in your complete company.

4. Get your emoji sport plan collectively

Musk is called a “memelord,” an individual who creates and distributes memes (ask your advertising workforce about them later). Replying with an emoji is a good way to strike the precise stability between making a critical reply to his supply and having it be casual sufficient that you just gained’t be embarrassed if it does certainly end up to be a joke.

5. Be concise

Your board and executives ought to in all probability know that you just’re about to negotiate the possession of the company utilizing a medium that has a personality restrict of 280 characters. Every letter counts. 

After Musk requested “How much is it?” in reference to the company, New Scientist Chief Executive Officer Nina Wright drafted a tweet that saved it mild (winking emoji) and promised to repair the paywall drawback.

6. Send the tweet

You are on Twitter, aren’t you?

7. Don’t take it too critically

Musk by no means purchased New Scientist, and as he acknowledged Thursday, he could by no means buy Twitter. So it’s greatest to reply fastidiously, whereas taking any supply with a big grain of salt.


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