‘Barbarians are at the Gate’: Elon Musk tweet stirs social media, but follow up whips them into a lather

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One of billionaire investor Elon Musk’s latest tweets posted Friday has some wondering whether he’s foreshadowing something big.

“The Barbarians are at the Gate,” the pithy tweet reads.

To be fair, Musk is known for routinely posting eccentric tweets. But on the other hand, he’s currently embroiled in an internationally publicized feud over the control of Twitter, which he’s been seeking to purchase in its entirety.

However, the billionaire investor has thus far been blocked by Twitter’s board, which has used a “poison pill” to effectively prevent the purchase.

View his tweet below:

Musk followed up on that with a pair of tweets Sunday morning, with a strategic pause of nearly three hours between the first and second offering — this ultimately proving to be a reference to his recent spat with Bill Gates:

Returning to Musk’s initial tweet, it happens to be the title of a a 1989 book titled “Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco.”

It’s a non-fiction book that tells the story of the attempted “leveraged buyout of the RJR Nabisco Corporation for $25 billion” in 1988 by then-Nabisco CEO F. Ross Johnson.

According to Investopedia, a leveraged buyout refers to “the acquisition of another company using a significant amount of borrowed money (bonds or loans) to meet the cost of acquisition.”

Sound familiar?

“Elon Musk says he has lined up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company’s board to negotiate a deal. … The Tesla CEO said Thursday in documents filed with U.S. securities regulators that the money would come from Morgan Stanley and other banks, some of it secured by his huge stake in the electric car maker,” the Associated Press reported Thursday.

(Source: Amazon)

Perhaps members of the public are just being conspiratorial, but to them, the dots easily connect.


But not everybody appears to have interpreted his tweet this way. After all, “barbarians at the gate”  has other meanings as well.


Assuming the tweet was about the book “The Barbarians are at the Gate,” and assuming Musk likens himself to F. Ross Johnson, there is one notable difference between the two men to keep in mind.

Whereas Johnson was motivated by profit, Musk is motivated by a mission to once again make Twitter a bastion of free speech and diverse thought.

“Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he doesn’t care about the economics of acquiring Twitter. … Musk said his interest in buying the company is not due to monetary reasons but rather to aid the interests of civilization,” Insider reported Saturday.

“According to Musk, it is vital for people to have both the ‘reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.’ He [said] Twitter accomplishes this as a ‘de facto town square.'”


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