Elon Musk Sounds Off on Recession Risk, Twitter Deal and Trump

World’s richest man says layoffs are underway at Tesla amid supply constraints and explains why he likes Dogecoin, in Bloomberg interview.

Elon Musk Sounds Off on Recession Risk, Twitter Deal and Trump
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., appears via video link during the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha on June 21.Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

Elon Musk, the billionaire visionary and oftentimes erratic entrepreneur, struck a sober tone Tuesday as he forecast a probable recession in the US and left doubts about his commitment to a $44 billion takeover of Twitter Inc.

In an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha, the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer said the electric-car maker’s workforce needs to be trimmed as supply-chain snarls crimp growth. He was also unguarded in his view that the US economy is headed toward contraction. It’s just a question of when.

“A recession is inevitable at some point,” said Musk, who joined the Middle East forum via video linkup from the US in the middle of his night. “As to whether there is a recession in the near term, that is more likely than not.”

Musk, who’s also the CEO of rocket-launch company SpaceX, was far from the jocular and sometimes edgy showman who’s a star on Twitter, with almost 100 million followers. Appearing in front of some of the Qatari backers of his planned acquisition of the social media platform, the billionaire was businesslike, measured and respectful. At 3 a.m. New York time, Musk was dressed in a dark suit jacket and a collared white shirt.

His downbeat domestic economic outlook follows similar projections from Nouriel Roubini and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Musk is also now at odds with President Joe Biden, who reiterated Monday that he thinks a US recession isn’t inevitable.

Twitter Deal

If Musk was unambiguous about his economic views, he left his devotion to one of the year’s most contentious deals — his April agreement to buy Twitter — in doubt.

The world’s richest man said there are “a few unresolved matters” and he’s still waiting for a resolution on how many bots — automated accounts rather than humans — there are on the social media platform. The transaction can’t be completed before that issue is cleared up and shareholders approve the deal, Musk said.

“There’s a limit to what I can say publicly,” he said. “It is somewhat of a sensitive matter.”

Musk’s reluctance, or inability, to fully endorse the deal won’t dispel speculation that he’s using the bot issue to potentially blow up the transaction. Musk has said he wanted to put the takeover “on hold” while he investigated how many of Twitter’s users are real people. He has filed a formal letter with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he told Twitter executives he might walk away from the deal if the company didn’t do more to prove the size of its user base.

With the US economy poised to go into reverse, Musk acknowledged it’s time to slow Tesla’s expansion in some areas. He provided clarity on the Austin, Texas-based electric-car company’s job cuts, confirming the salaried workforce will be reduced by about 10% over the next three months, resulting in an overall reduction of around 3.5% in total headcount. Hourly staff numbers are still expected to grow, Musk said.

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About Stu Turley 1967 Articles
Stuart Turley is President and CEO of Sandstone Group, a top energy data, and finance consultancy working with companies all throughout the energy value chain. Sandstone helps both small and large-cap energy companies to develop customized applications and manage data workflows/integration throughout the entire business. With experience in implementing enterprise networks, supercomputers, and cellular tower solutions, Sandstone has become a trusted source and advisor in this space. Stuart has led the “Total Corporate Digital Integration” platform at Sandstone and works with Sandstone clients to help integrate all aspects of modern digital business. He is also the Executive Publisher of www.energynewsbeat.com, the best source for 24/7 energy news coverage and is the Co-Host of the energy news video and Podcast Energy News Beat. Stuart is on Board Member of ASN Productions, DI Communities Stuart is guided by over 30 years of business management experience, having successfully built and help sell multiple small and medium businesses while consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He holds a B.A in Business Administration from Oklahoma State and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.