It’s money time for Elon Musk.
When summer is over, fall has gotten off to a flying start for the world’s richest man.
The tech tycoon has important deadlines in late September that could have significant implications for the empire he’s building. These appointments can also affect the image of a revolutionary and visionary boss that he builds.
These appointments relate to two fronts: the abrupt withdrawal of its bid to acquire the Twitter social network (TWTR) for $44 billion and a promise to unveil an advanced humanoid robot slated for launch in 2023.
Musk is being grilled by Twitter attorneys Sept. 26-27 asking the Delaware Court of Chancery to force the entrepreneur to honor his initial commitment to acquire the platform.
The stakes are financial for Musk, who wanted to personally take control of the social network. If he loses, he’d have to shell out $44 billion of his personal fortune, which is largely based on his Tesla (TSLA) shares. But Musk had managed to garner support from partners before his abrupt departure on July 8.
If Twitter loses, it cannot be ruled out that the market value of the platform, on which trendsetters and opinion leaders gather, will suffer enormously, because doubts about profitability will undoubtedly resurface.
Musk’s excuse for withdrawing his bid is that the social network is lying about how many spam bots or fake accounts exist on the platform. However, advertisers consider the number of users on a social network to determine whether to advertise their products and services there.
Twitter has always said that fake accounts make up less than 5% of its users, but Musk says that number is closer to 20%. However, it should be noted that from the outset, the billionaire chose to make an offer without prior due diligence, as is common in mergers and acquisitions.
Twitter believes Musk changed his mind after seeing recession fears rock the markets. Basically, it’s all about the money or the price. Twitter shares are currently trading at $41.58, down $13 from the $54.20 per share Musk offered on April 25 to acquire the entire company, of which he has been the largest shareholder since April 4 with a share of 9.1%.
Will Musk deliver?
Twitter shares closed at $48.93 on April 22, the last trading session before Musk’s offer announcement.
The testimony, which can be extended until Sept. 28, is scheduled to be made at a law office in Wilmington, Delaware, according to a court filing.
A five-day trial before Delaware Court Clerk Kathaleen McCormick is scheduled for October 17.
Regardless of the outcome of the statement, Musk is eagerly awaited by his fans and critics on September 30th. The mogul is set to unveil a working Optimus, a humanoid robot that will replace humans in Tesla’s factories, on a day dedicated to Tesla’s artificial intelligence advances.
This is the second edition of Tesla AI Day, an event launched in 2021.
“Tesla AI Day has been pushed back to September 30 as we may have a working Optimus prototype by then,” Musk announced on Twitter on June 2.
The billionaire had said in January that a prototype Optimus would be ready by the end of the year and Tesla plans to launch it from 2023.
No details have been leaked as to what Optimus can do.
The question is: will Musk deliver?
“I think the most important product development we’re doing this year is actually the Optimus humanoid robot. This has the potential, in my opinion, to become more significant than the vehicle business over time,” the tech tycoon said during the first quarterly call.
This is a big gamble as Musk has struggled to create a lot of excitement around Optimus. The Optimus concept is based on the mogul’s desire to replace humans with robots in his factories. It was unveiled in August 2021 during the first Tesla AI Day.
Optimus looks like a human in a robotic suit, nearly six feet tall and weighing 125 pounds. It will use the same AI systems that helped power Tesla vehicles, Musk said at the time.
Optimus will help with repetitive tasks around the factory, the company said. Tesla aims to produce 20 million vehicles annually, up from nearly 1 million in 2021.
The humanoid robot could herald an era where “physical labor will be a choice,” Musk said. Ultimately, according to the billionaire, it could mean “there has to be a universal basic income.”
In 2018, however, Musk acknowledged that too much automation is sometimes a “mistake.”
“Yes, Tesla’s over-automation was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Man is underestimated,” said the billionaire at the time.