A neon Twitter bird for $35,000, anyone? How about a used industrial kitchen mixer at a good price? going once…
When Elon Musk wants to make a point, he can be quite blunt. The day he took over Twitter last fall, he walked into the company’s San Francisco headquarters with a kitchen sink. He tweeted “let that settle.” Get it?
After cutting the company’s workforce, falling behind on rent and contractual obligations, Twitter under the mercurial billionaire is now auctioning off memorabilia, fancy office furniture and professional kitchen equipment from his San Francisco offices, where there are now large swaths of empty and the free meals are a relic. From the past.
With the auction, Musk’s message is twofold: call attention to the perceived excesses of Twitter’s previous administration while pointing out that cutting costs, at all costs, is a top priority.
Items that garnered the highest bids, aside from the neon bird, include a simple Twitter bird statue with over $30,000 and a flower pot sculpture with the “@” symbol. Meanwhile, professional kitchen equipment costs tens of thousands of dollars. These include a commercial dehydrator, deep fryer and a La Marzocco Strada semi-automatic espresso machine, which retails for around $25,000 (the highest offer as of Wednesday morning was $12,000).
Even when it’s all added up, the money raised in the auction, which closes on Wednesday, is unlikely to make a dent in Twitter’s financial obligations.
Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October and the company is committed to about $1 billion a year in interest payments from the deal. Most of Musk’s wealth is tied up in his ownership of Tesla shares, which have lost more than 40% in value since he took ownership of Twitter in late October. He sold nearly $23 billion worth of shares in the electric vehicle company to finance the purchase since April, when he began building a foothold on Twitter. He has even lost the top spot of the world’s richest person, according to Forbes.
Twitter, which no longer has a media relations department, did not immediately respond to a message for comment on Wednesday.
Musk defended his extreme cost-cutting measures in December on a late-night Twitter Spaces call.
“This venture is like, basically, you’re on a plane heading towards the ground at high speed with the engines on fire and the controls not working,” Musk said on December 21.