Ari Emanuel reportedly made an offer that Elon Musk could refuse.
Last year, Emanuel, chief executive officer of media and talent-representation conglomerate Endeavor, texted his friend Musk with an offer to take on the job of managing Twitter, according to “Elon Musk,” Walter Isaacson’s sprawling new biography of the techno-titan.
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Emanuel, in a three-paragraph text sent on the Signal encrypted messaging app, proposed that he and Endeavor would run Twitter (which is now called X) on Musk’s behalf, per Isaacson’s book. “For a fee of $100 million, [Emanuel] said, he would take charge of cutting costs, creating a better culture, and managing relations with advertisers and marketers,” Isaacson writes in the book, as reported by tech-news site the Verge.
Musk rejected Emanuel’s offer out of hand. According to Isaacson’s book, Jared Birchall, who serves as managing director of the entity housing Musk’s financial assets, called Emanuel’s text “the most insulting, demeaning, insane message.”
An Endeavor spokesperson declined to comment. A rep for X did not respond to requests for comment.
Prior to Musk’s Twitter takeover, Emanuel reportedly inserted himself into the dispute between Twitter’s board and Musk over the latter’s attempt to back out of the deal. Emanuel had reached out to Twitter board member Egon Durban, co-CEO of tech investment firm Silver Lake, to suggest the company work with Musk to “find a solution” to their legal fight ahead of a trial that had been scheduled to begin in October. Musk and Twitter’s board eventually came to an agreement to close the transaction. Durban sits on Endeavor’s board; Musk had been on Endeavor’s board of directors before resigning in March 2022.
Subsequently, in January of this year, Endeavor acquired a small stake in Twitter, which was not big enough to be material to Endeavor’s overall business.
After Musk begrudgingly closed the debt-laden $44 billion deal for Twitter, he fired Twitter’s senior management team — and installed himself as CEO. Musk then oversaw mass layoffs at Twitter, cutting an estimated 80% of the company’s workforce. Earlier this year, Musk hired ex-NBCUniversal sales boss Linda Yaccarino as CEO. Since joining the company in June, she has hired a group of new sales execs. But Musk ultimately remains in control of X/Twitter (e.g., in July he renamed the company after his favorite letter of the alphabet) and has said he will continue to run the company’s product and technology teams.
Emanuel also serves as CEO of the recently formed TKO Group, which brings together UFC and WWE under one roof; with the closing of that deal, Emanuel received a grant of restricted stock units in TKO worth $40 million, set to vest over a four-year period contingent on his continued service. At Endeavor, Emanuel’s 2022 compensation package was worth $19.1 million, down from a whopping $308 million the year prior, which mostly comprised stock grants that vest over several years.
Isaacson’s 688-page biography of Musk was published Sept. 12 and topped Amazon’s bestseller chart before its release. The hardcover version weighs 2.25 pounds.
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