Elon Musk denies the reports that Twitter employees were fired in order to avoid payouts

Elon Musk has refuted a claim that he terminated workers at Twitter before November 1 in order to avoid stock grants that were due on that day.

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Elon Musk, the company’s new owner, has refuted a New York Times report that said Twitter would fire staff before November 1 in order to avoid having to pay out stock grants on that day.

In a response to a Twitter user asking about the layoffs, Musk tweeted: “This is false.”

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Musk had mandated layoffs before Nov. 1, when workers were supposed to receive stock awards as part of their remuneration. Musk also ordered employment cuts across the company, with some teams to be reduced more than others.

According to the Times, who cited unnamed persons with knowledge of the situation, the cuts may start as soon as this Saturday.

According to media reports on Saturday, Musk planned additional layoffs for this coming Saturday while he sacked key employees to avoid huge severance payments.

Following the completion of a highly publicised $44 billion buyout of the social media platform on Thursday, people familiar with the situation told Reuters that Musk fired Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and Chief Legal Affairs and Policy Officer Vijaya Gadde.

He had claimed that they had misled him and Twitter’s investors over the prevalence of fraudulent accounts on the site. The executives had the potential to receive parting compensation totaling almost $122 million, according to research company Equilar.

The Information alleged that Elon Musk fired four top Twitter executives, including Agrawal and Segal, “for reason,” citing unnamed persons with knowledge of the situation, apparently in an effort to dodge severance compensation and unvested stock awards.

LightShed analyst Rich Greenfield said in a tweet on Saturday that Musk removed top Twitter executives “for cause,” delaying the vesting of their unvested stock as part of a shift of ownership.

Reuters’ request for comment from Twitter did not receive a response right away.

The sacked executives were not immediately reachable by Reuters.

According to Courtney Yu, director of research at Equilar, the ousted executives “should be collecting these (severance) payouts unless Elon Musk had cause for termination, with cause in these circumstances typically being that they broke the law or violated company policy,” she told Reuters on Friday.