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Elon Musk says Twitter is worth $24bn less than when he bought it

elon musk twitter source code leak - JIM WATSON / AFP
elon musk twitter source code leak - JIM WATSON / AFP

Twitter’s value has more than halved since Elon Musk’s $44bn (£36bn) takeover in November, according to a leaked internal memo.

In a memo to Twitter staff, the billionaire suggested that the social media company is now worth around $20bn based on stock awards granted to employees.

The decision to write off around 55pc of its price tag, first reported by The Information, comes after technology valuations collapsed last year and tech companies, including Twitter, sacked thousands of staff as growth stalled.

Mr Musk last year said he was “obviously overpaying” for Twitter, after agreeing to buy the company in April before attempting to walk away from the deal. Twitter sued Mr Musk, who later backed down and agreed to complete the transaction.

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The billionaire has sacked more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 staff since taking over the company in a bid to cut costs and grappled with a slump in advertiser interest.

The news of the writedown comes after Mr Musk launched legal action after portions of Twitter’s source code, the backbone instructions behind the website, were leaked online.

Twitter demanded that code-sharing database Github delete a section of internal information from the social network and filed a subpoena against the company to force it to reveal the source of the leak.

The tech company is reported to have launched an internal probe to uncover the source of the information, the New York Times reported.

The account that leaked the data on Github was named “FreeSpeechEnthusiast”, an apparent dig at Mr Musk who has attempted to boost freedom of expression on the social network.

In a legal filing, Twitter demanded Github “identify the alleged infringer or infringers” behind the leak of the source code under US copyright laws.

The billionaire has rescinded bans on thousands of previously blocked accounts, including former US President Donald Trump.

Mr Musk has previously said he wants to make Twitter’s internal code for its social media algorithm public, so it can be checked and improved by external experts. He has said the move would help “earn your trust”.