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The valuation is a far cry from the $44 billion Musk paid to buy the company.

A report in the New York Times reveals that Elon Musk says Twitter is now worth about $20 billion (€18.5 billion). This is according to an email he sent the company’s employees on Friday. It represents a significant drop from the $44 billion (€41 billion) that Musk paid to buy the social network in October. The email, seen by the Times, offered the social-media company’s employees stock grants, but at a valuation of just under $20 billion.

In his communique, Musk “warned workers that Twitter remained in a precarious financial position and, at one point, had been four months away from running out of money”, according to the article. “Twitter is being reshaped rapidly,” Musk wrote. After that, he went on to describe the platform as “an inverse start-up.”

Twitter’s value has indeed declined while Musk set about to “dramatically overhaul” the company. That is, when he took the company private in October. This meant that Twitter is no longer obligated to provide transparency about its finances. It hasn’t stopped him from making public statements about it, though. Statements that indicate that the company lost revenue. Advertisers allegedly fled the platform as a result of his takeover. At one point, Musk even publicly suggested that Twitter was in danger of bankruptcy.

A private employee stock plan

According to Mr. Musk’s email about the new stock compensation program, Twitter employees will receive stock in X Corporation, the holding company he used to buy the social media platform.

Twitter will plan to allow employees to sell the stock every six months, according to Musk. This policy is similar to the one in place at SpaceX. The sales of private stock would allow employees to have “liquid stock, but without the stock price chaos and lawsuit burdens of a public company,” Musk wrote.

Musk said in December that Twitter is on track to be “roughly cash flow break-even” in 2023 as top advertisers slashed their spending on the social-media platform after the billionaire’ s takeover.