Elon Musk is trying to cut Twitter’s expenses as close to zero as possible as his personal wealth shrinks — and that apparently includes falling behind on rent payments on the company’s offices.
Twitter owes $136,260 (£113,601) in rent arrears on its 30th-floor offices in a downtown building San Franciscoaccording to a lawsuit filed by the building’s landlord last week.
The landlord at 650 California Street, which is not Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, sent a notice to the social media company on Dec. 16, informing it that it would default if it did not pay within five days. Five days passed without payment, according to the lawsuit.
The landlord, Columbia REIT 650 California LLC, is seeking damages in the amount of the total rent, as well as attorneys’ fees and other costs. Twitter signed a seven-year lease for the offices in 2017. The monthly rent was $107,526.50 (£89,646) in the first full year and increased gradually to $128,397 (£107,045) in the seventh year.
Twitter did not respond to a message for comment. The company no longer has a media relations department.
Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion (£37 billion) in October 2022, and the company faces around $1 billion in annual interest payments from the deal. Most of Musk’s wealth is tied to his ownership of Tesla stock, which has lost more than half its value since he took ownership of Twitter. He has sold almost $23 billion (£19 billion) worth of shares in the electric vehicle company to fund the purchase since April, when he began building a position in Twitter. He even lost the first place for the richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
Musk defended his extreme cost-cutting measures last month in a late-night Twitter Spaces call.
“This company is like being in an airplane heading toward the ground at high speed with the engines on fire and the controls not working,” Musk said on Dec. 21.
The company’s headquarters are at another San Francisco address, 1355 Market Street, where Twitter is also behind on rent, according to the New York Times.
In addition to not paying rent and laying off workers, Musk’s Twitter is also auctioning off high-end office furniture, kitchen equipment and other relics from the past, when Twitter had more than 7,500 full-time employees worldwide and free lunch and other offices bonuses were common. About three-quarters of Twitter’s employees are believed to have left the company either because they were laid off, fired or quit.
Among the items Twitter is auctioning off are a pizza oven, a 40-gallon commercial kitchen floor mixer (sold for about $18,000; bidding starts at $25) and high-end designer furniture such as Eames chairs by Herman Miller and Knoll Diamond chairs , which retail in the thousands.
Even a Twitter bird statue (bidding starts at $25) and a Twitter bird neon light display (bidding starts at $50) are up for grabs in this fire-sale-style auction reminiscent of the dotcom bust of the early 2000s , when failed tech startups sold off their decadent office wares.
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