Twitter Is Hemorrhaging Execs — Is it a Signal To Dump Your Stock?

Photo illustration in China - 09 Dec 2021
Budrul Chukrut / SOPA Images /

If you want evidence of the fickle whims of Wall Street, look no further than Twitter: A few weeks ago the social network’s stock was riding the high of Elon Musk’s buyout offer, but since then it has tanked amid an exodus of executives and speculation that Musk might try to walk away from the deal.

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Three more executives left Twitter this week, Bloomberg reported, including two vice presidents. That followed last week’s departure of two other execs. Those leaving this week include Ilya Brown, a VP of product management; Katrina Lane, VP of Twitter Service; and Max Schmeiser, head of data science, according to internal memos described to Bloomberg. All three chose to leave on their own.

That wasn’t the case last week, when a pair of general managers — Kayvon Beykpour and Bruce Falck — were both fired ahead of Musk’s planned takeover.

Those departures have come during a period of hiring freezes and rescinded job offers as Twitter reevaluates its labor costs, Fortune reported. In a letter to employees last week, CEO Parag Agrawal said Twitter was not on track to hit revenue and user growth targets it established in 2021. Those targets included doubling its revenue and having 315 million monetizable daily active users by the end of 2023.

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As for the Musk deal: it’s no sure thing. As previously reported by GOBankingRates, Musk tweeted on May 17 that he “cannot move forward” with his planned $44 billion buyout of the social media company unless it can prove that bots make up less than 5% of its users. The Tesla CEO and world’s richest person suggested the actual figure could be 20% or higher. Those comments followed similar comments the week prior suggesting the deal is on hold until Musk gets more information about spam and fake accounts.

Not surprisingly, these developments have done no favors for Twitter’s stock price. Shares were trading near $37 early on May 20 — well below Musk’s purchase price of $54.20 a share reached in late April.

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Meanwhile, analysts don’t exactly give a ringing endorsement to the stock. The 36 analysts who follow Twitter have an average “Hold” rating on the stock, according to Yahoo Finance. The vast majority rate it either “Hold” or “Underperform.” Argus Research recently downgraded the stock to “Hold” from “Buy.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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