A 'vulture' circles over Twitter

A conservative hedge fund manager, known as a 'vulture' and 'financial terrorist', based on his history of tormenting socialists, has suddenly got his sights on Twitter.

Couldn't happen to a nice bunch of woke, hostile, leftists.

Here's the Wall Street Journal take on what's happening now:

Elliott Management Corp. has nominated four directors to the board at Twitter Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter, setting the stage for a potential showdown between one of the most prolific and pugnacious activist hedge funds and the influential social-media company.

Elliott has taken a roughly $1 billion stake and been in talks with Twitter management about its desire for the company to find a full-time chief executive officer, the person said. That most likely would involve replacing co-founder Jack Dorsey, who began a second stint as the company’s CEO in 2015. In addition to his role at Twitter, Mr. Dorsey leads Square Inc., a financial-technology firm he also co-founded.

Here's the much more entertaining Daily Caller take:

A Republican donor reportedly purchased a major stake in Twitter with the intention of pushing out CEO Jack Dorsey, who the billionaire says is too distracted with other ventures.

Activist investor Elliott Management wants to make changes at the social media company, the Bloomberg News report noted Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Paul Singer, the billionaire behind Elliott, once opposed President Donald Trump’s campaign but has since grown more supportive.

Here's the missing take:

I remember talking to this guy (or his people) back in my bond-market reporting days in the early 2000s, based on his tough stance of making Argentina's lefty socialists pay their bills after their 2002 default. What they wanted to do was run out on their tab. The country, which issued a slew of bonds it defaulted on, creating the world's biggest default at the time, of around $100 billion, had decided it could draw in money with impunity from investors, run a fake currency board that wasn't backing its dollar-denominated bonds, and then skip its bills by devaluing its currency and printing up toilet-paper money to pay them. At the same time, it left investors it owed dollars to with nothing. Default it was, tra la la, off they'd go, to spend again. Argentina took that cash, wasted it as socialists do, and then claimed they had no money to pay it back, even though it lent money based on a promise of always having dollars to pay the creditors. 

Most investors swallowed their losses and took "haircuts" on the value of their bonds, getting back 30 cents to the dollar. Not Singer, who thought they had the cash and just didn't want to pay it. They deserved a guy like this because no one else was going to keep them honest. He was their worst nightmare. Like Trump, he didn't care who he offended and he was persistent to the point of being considered crazy. Here's what Mother Jones had to say in 2013 after he tried to repo-man the Argentine navy:

To those who know Singer, such aggressive stunts are wholly in character. Harvey Miller, a partner and bankruptcy expert at Weil, Gotshal & Manges who has fought Elliott in court, calls him a “very tough and very difficult adversary. He’s not a compromiser. He’s persistent and won’t go away.” Democrats are likely to realize as much in 2014.

 Oh heck, they're likely to realize it now, because he hasn't changed any. 

Singer's now got @Jack, Jack Dorsey, the man who founded and semi-still leads Twitter in his sights and plans to take over. 

For us, that's like a barbarian breaching the walls. Undoubtedly, Singer, who was once a nevertrump but came around, considered Twitter the weak link in the fat underbelly of social media giants. Now he's moving for the kill. Which might be very good news for forcing Twitter to live up to its promises, too, just as Singer forced Argentina into being honest earlier.

A hedgie, Singer probably would first and foremost be making his decision to hostilely take over Twitter, based on the fact that it must have unrealized profits, something he could force Twitter into making if he gets his men or women on that board with enough power to clean house.

The news accounts cite Twitter's refusal to take political ads in the election cycle, on the pious grounds that they could affect the election, is likely one source of unrealized profits.

But there are plenty more: Twitter's history of capricious censorship against conservatives has got to be driving traffic away from the site, too. For every conservative they ban, they lose money in lost traffic and clicks. Since they do it a lot, and to big players such as actor James Woods, whose pithy comments have delighted millions, they lose millions.

Here's another thing: The company may well have a depressed valuation based on its risk of ligigation and even more important legislation. The site claims to be a public platform and therefore exempt from libel laws, but its policy of censorship of conservatives makes it a highly edited platform. They're likely to be eventually sued for the double standard and it's all their own doing.

Watch Singer get in there and force this social media giant to live up to its promises. That would be good news for conservatives in the short term.

In the long term, it might be even better. Singer's breach of Fortess Social Media with all its monolithic leftist denizens might just be a first step for a conservative long march through the institutions, the cultural takeover that the late Andrew Breitbart dreamed of happening.One hopes more conservative billionaires start getting in on the act and buying up newspapers, educational establishments, television and radio stations and social media companies in following. A giant could tumble.  

Image credit: World Economic Forum, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

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