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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:
The Barbarians are at the Gate
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 22, 2022
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:
(from making fun of Gates for shorting Tesla while claiming to support climate change action)
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 24, 2022
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.”
“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.
Perhaps members of the public are just being conspiratorial, but to them, the dots easily connect.
Elon preparing to buy out Twitter shareholders pic.twitter.com/JtMhUsFrW2
— Fintwit (@fintwit_news) April 22, 2022
The reference is this:
Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco is a 1989 book about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, written by investigative journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar.
Elon is tweeting about his Twitter takeover.
— S Bartemy (@BartemyS) April 23, 2022
Barbarians at the Gate is a 1989 book (and 1993 movie) about the leveraged buyout (LBO) of RJR Nabisco by F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of RJR Nabisco, who planned to buy out the rest of the Nabisco shareholders.
— Sofie Roberta (@sofieroberta) April 23, 2022
“Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco”
The book centers on F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of RJR Nabisco, who planned to buy out the rest of the Nabisco shareholders. Are you planning to buy out all the shareholders of Twitter?
— Truth Seeker (@hellschild31) April 23, 2022
Book reference about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco.
— Noel Geren (@ngeren) April 23, 2022
This is a reference to a book. He is suggesting he will use something called a Leveraged Buyout to take over #twitter
— JaguarWarrior 😸 (@RaBidChKN9) April 23, 2022
But not everybody appears to have interpreted his tweet this way. After all, “barbarians at the gate” has other meanings as well.
— greg (@greg16676935420) April 22, 2022
Christopher Hitchens: “The barbarians never take the city until someone holds the gates open for them…”
The gates are open.
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) April 22, 2022
Definitely. Last thing the Roman Senate was voting on before the Barbarians took them out was whether or not to raise the pay to the Roman Army. The Barbarians told them to late we already here. your time is up. LOL
— Delsia Bare (@lionessdbare) April 24, 2022
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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