Wall Street asks if Musk can manage Twitter, Tesla and more


(Reuters) – As the dust settles on Elon Musk’s $44 billion buyout of Twitter, analysts and investors are debating one crucial question – has the billionaire entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX bitten off more than he can chew?

Musk, who also runs brain-chip startup Neuralink and tunneling firm the Boring company, is expected to become interim chief of Twitter, according to a person familiar with the matter, after he fired CEO Parag Agarwal and other top company officials.

“He is stretching himself thin,” said Dennis Dick, retail trader at Triple D Trading.

“You have to be concerned that maybe we’re not going to get as much attention on Tesla as we were (getting) in the past because Twitter’s going to be a big project for him.”

Stakes are high for Tesla, which is scaling up production at two mega factories in Texas and Germany and faces rising competition from legacy automakers such as Ford Motors (F.N) and General Motors Co (GM.N).

Tesla’s stock has lost nearly a third of its market value since Musk made an offer to buy Twitter in April, more than double the decline in the benchmark S&P 500 index (.SPX) in the same period.

Musk has said he wants to “defeat” spam bots on Twitter, have fewer limits on content that can be posted and prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for division.

But he has not offered details on how he will achieve all this and who will run the company.

Mike Ramsey, vice president of automotive at Gartner, also said Tesla’s leadership hierarchy was also not as clear as SpaceX and people at the electric-vehicle maker will have to step up to take charge of the operations.

Tesla sales also could be affected by Musk’s actions of opening up Twitter to some previously banned individuals — though whether it is a net positive or negative is up for debate.

“Buying Twitter might be a turnoff for some customers, but at the same time, we think it could open an opportunity for new customers,” said CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson.

Nelson is among those who believe that Musk can handle the various roles while delivering on Tesla’s targets.

“If anyone is capable of pulling off this juggling act in our view, you know it’s Elon,” he said.

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