back to article British monarchy goes after Twitter, alleges rent not paid for UK base

More landlords are piling on Elon Musk's Twitter alleging unpaid rent – including, funnily enough, the British monarchy. According to High Court lists seen by The Telegraph, the Crown Estate, which administers the monarchy's property portfolio, some of the priciest digs in Britain, has filed a claim against Twitter Inc and its …

  1. gerryg

    If you owe the bank...

    ...£10,000 you have got a problem. If you owe the bank £10,000,000 the bank has got a problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you owe the bank...

      He's lucky the Crown Estate doesn't have pikesmen :)

      1. EarthDog

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        Hmmm.... is Special Branch still around?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you owe the bank...

          Hmmm.... is Special Branch still around?

          Sadly not.....

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Thaw

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Waterman

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sweeney

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: If you owe the bank...

            Completely different series.

            Special Branch the three main stars Patrick Mower & Derren Nesbitt are still with us, George Sewell sadly isn't.

            Both Sewell and Mower later starred as villains in The Sweeney, while Sweeney star Dennis Waterman appeared in the 1974 Special Branch episode "Stand and Deliver" as a criminal.

          2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: If you owe the bank...

            "The Sweeney" is rhyming slang (Sweeny Todd = Flying Squad), not the same as Special Branch.

        2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

          Re: If you owe the bank...

          Only Kingsman.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you owe the bank...

          The movie types? No. The Real Thing™? Oh yes.

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        "650 California Street, where The Reg also has a holdout."

        I finally know where to send the rubber chickens and inflatable fart cushions. Thank you.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        Off with the head of up his ass?

      4. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        Pikesmen? The Tower is full of halberds and other sharp things.

        I can't imagine why the King doesn't just arm the people of London and march to Piccadilly Circus. It's not that far.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: If you owe the bank...

          Why bother? King Charles is also Commander in Chief of the UK armed forces and fairly rich in his own right. Maybe not quite as rich as Musk, but has assets worth over £42B even if much of that is owned by the "sovereign" and ca';t actually be sold or even, I assume, used as collateral. But he is technically in charge of our nuclear missile wielding submarine fleet. Think on that Mr Musk. Only the launch matters. Landing "safely" doesn't :-)

          1. Ken G Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: If you owe the bank...

            It's the Prince of Wales (in his incarnation as Duke of Cornwall) who's exempt from the Nuclear Explosions Act (and the the Data Protection Act if he want's to post Mr Musk's details).

          2. Youngone Silver badge

            Re: If you owe the bank...

            Arming the good folk of London with Halberds and marching on Piccadilly would be way more fun than some stupid nuclear contraption.

            I expect Charles will get around to it once he's retaken Calais.

      5. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        what about the Yeomen Warders?

      6. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        But they do have the Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London, also known as 'Beefeaters' https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/history-and-stories/yeoman-warders-at-the-tower-of-london/#gs.o6hr1y

        To quote lance Corporal Jones from 'Dad's Army' "They don't like it up 'em!"

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Pikemen

        I suspect that they do, and that they probably dress the same now. Posted anonymously as it might be treasonous!

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: If you owe the bank...

      The way things are going, Twitter will be owned by its creditors. I doubt Musk can run up over $13B of new debt before the bankruptcy so the majority creditor will be the banks that lent Twitter $13B to buy out its old shareholders. The banks will effectively be buying most of what is left of Twitter for $13B. Before Musk took charge that could have been a good deal.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        IIRC. the Saudi Royal family investment fund is the next biggest shareholder after Musk. A bastion of free speech, just like Free Speech Absolutist Mr Musk :-)

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: If you owe the bank...

        "The banks will effectively be buying most of what is left of Twitter for $13B. Before Musk took charge that could have been a good deal."

        If Elon had just continued to amass Twitter stock at market prices, he would have saved a heap of money and would have also been able to "own" the company just by having a significant block of voting stock and lots of fanbois. At this point, he needs those 100 security personnel his father mentioned he employs.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: If you owe the bank...

      If you owe the Saudi Wealth fund and you mismanage a company they've invested in, you will have problems.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, his "genius" is mainly..

    .. simply stiffing everyone?

    Heck, I could have done that. I just don't have the gazillions to hide from the consequences.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

      simply stiffing everyone?

      Well... he did learn from a master.... his master, Donald J Trump... Grifter and bill dodger extraordinaire.

      Time to give Musk the finger and turf any of his businesses out of not only the UK but Europe as well.

      1. EarthDog

        Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

        I'd bet his parents were the same.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

          The parents that owned an emerald mine in apartheid South Africa? I think the details of where the money came from probably fill themselves in there.

          1. Oglethorpe

            Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

            The emerald mine was in Zambia and his father openly supported (and was an elected representative for) the anti-apartheid Progressive Party in SA.

            I see the previously posted misinformation repeated so often that I'm convinced it's a plant to make legitimate criticism of Elon seem ill informed by association.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

              It is funny how people like Trump and Musk who were born with a golden spoon shoved up their ass like to claim they are self made, as if they had a middle class upbringing and went to public schools.

              1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
                Headmaster

                Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

                I think Pretoria Boys High School would have been a fully state operated public school back in the days when Elon attended. One of the classier ones, to be sure (like the whole cluster of schools in that area), but definitely owned and operated by the Transvaal Education Department in those days.

                1. Potemkine! Silver badge

                  Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

                  What about the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School?

                  1. EarthDog

                    Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

                    Like most AMerican Universities they are de facto owned by corporations

      2. TheMeerkat

        Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

        You are totalitarianism lover, are you?

        1. chosenZero

          Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

          You're a bowl of strawberry ice cream, aren't you?

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

      His genius was mainly bringing in investment, hiring good people and taking credit for their work. That worked fine when he and his workforce both wanted electric vehicles / to colonise Mars. As long as he brought the money others would let him take credit for their work.

      For Twitter, Musk brought $13B of debt then drove away any competent employee not trapped with an H-1B visa. For some reason this new strategy was not as effective as the old one.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

        "For Twitter, Musk brought $13B of debt then drove away any competent employee not trapped with an H-1B visa."

        He also seems to have not put much thought into where he was going to take the company and how to achieve those goals. It has just been a whole bunch of thrashing about and doing whatever comes to mind with very little planning. All of his duck-billed platitudes are only good for sound bites but don't add up to a cohesive business plan.

        1. Doctor Evil

          Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

          Upvoted for "duck-billed platitudes'. Well turned, sir!

    3. TheMeerkat

      Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

      Those debts started before Musk. He is probably only now starts finding out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, his "genius" is mainly..

        Shame his genius got in the way of the sort of due diligence that us mere mortals would have insisted on.

        (obligatory "It's not rocket science" comment ommitted :) ).

  3. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    The situation in Singapore (where the landlord insists Twitter is still a tenant) is precisely how these sorts of things go: because the tenant is still a tenant, even though they haven't paid the rent for e.g. November and December, they still owe rent for this month and the landlord really would like them to owe rent for every month until Twitter gets a court to dissolve the tenancy!

    There was a shopfront on a desirable street in San Francisco that was vacant for more than 20 years because the original owner of the building had died, and the relative that had run the business was stuck with a lease from the estate, so there was a ever-increasing flow of debt from the business to the estate of the owner, leading to oceans of red ink on paper, and an "encumbered asset" that was appreciating like crazy. Because "the business" and the owner's estate were fundamentally the same people, many taxes were dodged without anyone having to actually run a shop!

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "There was a shopfront on a desirable street in San Francisco that was vacant for more than 20 years because the original owner of the building had died"

      Louis Rossman brought up a hypothesis similar to that for why so many retail shops were vacant in New York. The rent is too high, but the note on the building is so much that if the owner were to start renting out space at affordable prices, the value of the building would get reevaluated and there would be calls on the mortgage. If the empty units are only offered at super high prices, the building's value remains assessed as if that lease price is the going rate. It's a tax thing that makes it all work and all of those involved are in on it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who knew a billionaire was going to bankrupt/kill a company that exposed his flights and allowed it's users to call him a south African raised apartheid mine loving family heir?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Musk started buying Twitter shares in early 2022. At that time he thought he was going to make Twitter better. Right up until shortly after signing the merger agreement Musk thought he could run Twitter and make a profit on the deal. Musk did not know he was going to bankrupt Twitter until the day he tried to squirm his way out of the deal.

      It was clear to anyone who looked at the finance that Twitter was doomed. It was marginally profitable before Musk. Adding $13B of debt was more than sufficient to sink it. Putting someone with poor social skills in charge of a social media company adds a redundant path to bankruptcy.

      By the way, the emerald mine was in Zaire - not South Africa.

      1. johnfbw

        Seems unlikely that Musk is responsible for the complete failure of the company in three months, unless they had less than three months of operating cash and literally all revenue disappeared.

        He might have had a point that he was mislead

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          From the day he signed it over, the debt repayments will have sucked out any operating cash they had almost instantly.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge

          $13 billion of debt goes a long way.

          At 2% over 25 years, that's $55 million a month.

          At 3% over 10 years, $126 million a month.

          Their total revenue in FY2021 was $5 billion - so $416 million a month.

          So the Musk debt repayments alone are likely to be somewhere between 13% and 30% of their total pre-Musk revenue.

          They probably had about $5 billion in cash on hand pre-Musk, and lost $220 million in FY2021 (this includes some one-off charges around $700 million)

          Revenue is known to have dropped off a cliff due to his policies and tweets. Though vagaries might be more accurate.

          If revenue has halved, then Musk loan repayments alone are between a quarter and 60% of revenue. That's totally unsustainable.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            They got their loans at the worst possible time. Interest abou 1 Billion per year. More like 7.5 to 8%.

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          He might have had a point that he was mislead

          He had the chance to find out in discovery - but, like a child having a tantrum, he decided he didn't need to know anything about what he was buying and waived his right to dicovery.

          Only a fool spends $13B of his own money to buy something he knows nothing about other than as a user.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Seems unlikely that Musk is responsible for the complete failure of the company in three months

          They were already bleeding, but Must coming in and simultaneously scaring off the people that generated revenue (advertisers) and removing the ability of he company to keep operating and come up with something to turn the shop by sacking way more people than the company could afford to lose, that is what caused the nose dive.

          All of that was 100% down to Musk. There are no excuses.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "sacking way more people than the company could afford to lose"

            Maybe the company could run well with just the number of people that it has now, but Elon's scythe most likely touched the very people that would have been a good idea to retain. He didn't spend any time doing any sort of evaluation.

            It's my opinion that anybody buying an ongoing business first spend some time with the business operating as it has been before making radical changes. Sometimes it's hard to see why something is done a certain way or why some people have been kept on until you've had to keep the gears turning yourself.

        5. doublelayer Silver badge

          He wasn't mislead. Twitter didn't want him to buy it and didn't make representations to make that happen. Only after attacking them for months and convincing the shareholders to make the board sell did they agree to let him buy it, and in any normal case, the buyer would do a lot of investigation of the thing they were buying before they agreed to go ahead, even after their initial takeover bid was accepted. That would have included having a lot of access to internal details of the company. He decided not to do that and signed a contract to that effect. If Twitter was not as amazing a company as he thought it was, he could have figured that out if he did what everyone else does and he could have figured it out by learning what most others thought of his bid. He did neither; too bad for him.

      2. Oglethorpe

        Small correction

        Zambia, not Zaire. The former was also quite a thorn in the side of the apartheid government (as was Musk Sr).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This mine in Zaire. Are you telling me it was good honest organisation which treated it's workers with respect? You do know apartheid wasn't just limited to South Africa don't you? Maybe to different degrees but not limited.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Elon crosses another bridge

    and promptly torches it! Brilliant!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Elon crosses another bridge

      "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it" has long been a cliché.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Elon crosses another bridge

        Well, he did signal his intentions when he started selling pocket sized flame throwers.

        On the other hand, his Boring Company seems to actually be doing something. I'd not heard anything about their operations until this turned up on BBC News. It's a long way from the original vision, but then so was grasshopper from Falcon 9.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Elon crosses another bridge

          " I'd not heard anything about their operations until this turned up on BBC News."

          Now compare that to the automated PRT pods at terminal 5, Heathrow. During trade shows, people have commented that it's faster to walk from one side of the convention center to the other than to try and take a Tesla in a sewer pipe.

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Elon crosses another bridge

      Twitter is on the brink of disaster.

      We need now to go boldly forward.

  6. martinusher Silver badge

    The fundamental problem with the business

    Can anyone explain to me why a company like Twitter needs pricey digs in the center of London? Or any other big city?

    I know the reason is "attracting the best and brightest" but that tends to be an exercise in self-reference. Experience with the pandemic has shown that people don't like commuting -- actually, we've all know that for decades but like a lot of things that business does its a custom that nobody questions because "we've always done it this way". Realistically, whatever Twitter's doing could be done just as well, or even better, from a nondescript building in an industrial park somewhere.

    The technology industry -- the bit that produces the Twitters of this world, at least **-- is rife with inefficiency and waste. Its continued like this for years because of he fear of change, nobody wants to be first, but once the first crack appears in the dam the flood -- mass layoffs -- is inevitable. I'm not a great fan of bean counters but a business has to make a profit and it doesn't do so by wasting money on vanity projects (in fact the bean counters tend to be their most obnoxious when the company's wasted all their resources on lavish overheads and excess salaries and is now rummaging around in the sofa for loose change).

    (**The big that parasites on the telecommunications infrastructure and my phone by forever trying to appropriate more and more of it under the guise of a 'service'.)

    1. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      I would expect it’s related to some outdated view point that may still exist in advertising companies and some look at us, aren’t we amazing nose thumbing.

      I did some work at a client many years ago, who was an ad agency with contracts for global brands. Most of their workforce and actual design/production work was done 250 miles away from their small, fancy London office, but the London address was seen as vital to be taken seriously in the industry and for the sales team to schmooze their clients. They had a similar office in Switzerland.

      I doubt the advertising industry has changed that much in the years since then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        Like most of the defence companies, the one I used to work for had plush offices in the West End of London. The given reason was that they needed to be close/convenient for the government customers but in practice they were used as status symbols for the directors who all had their own offices there in addition to their office in the main plant - with the requisite extra PAs, IT and support, all duplicated. We got a new MD who wanted to cut costs. He was a decent bloke (for an MD) and was unhappy sacking people when we were paying a fortune for a second office that didn't get a lot of use. The directors went through the well-rehearsed arguments about needing an office close to the customer. The MD agreed then pointed out that most of our MoD meetings were held in Abbey Wood (Bristol) and told the directors to shut the London office and rent some office space this side of Bristol. The London office is long gone but they never opened an office near Abbey Wood.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: The fundamental problem with the business

          They could probably convert the "Nightingale Hospital" at UWE which already has lots of lovely cubicles for them to work from, and which was only ever used for vaccinations, taking place in one corner of the massive space. It's within spitting distance of Abbey Wood already (or at least within spitting distance of that gap on the maps where there is nothing at all...)

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        Well yes, for the advertising industry, it is vital to have a presence close to where the cocaine can be procured. If all the advertising execs are together in a small area with lots of fancy offices, then it makes it easier for the suppliers to find them.

        I'll stop believing that all advertising execs have a serious coke problem, when their output stops being something that would only not be excruciatingly annoying if you were completely off your tits.

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      London because of the huge catchment area of relevant tech industries and hence talent pool with good transport links for when the boss has a hissy fit about attendance-in-person. Why not a not an industrial estate in London? I've done some work installing kit in a few nondescript industrial estates inside the M25 and many of them are not convenient for public transport and driving is a pain anywhere in London. Commuting is a pain in the arse, but it's much better if the destination is in Zone 1 rather than Zone 4 on the opposite side of the city and a mile away from the tube.

      Having said that, it's probably more a case of Piccadilly for the perceived prestige -- and cos they could!

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      "Can anyone explain to me why a company like Twitter needs pricey digs in the center of London? Or any other big city?"

      They don't. Until recently, Twitter was one of the companies most enthusiastic about remote working, and their workforce was choosing to work from a lot of places. They'd likely have cut some of their expensive real estate had that policy remained.

      Now that work from the office has been decreed, it makes a bit more sense to have expensive office locations, but not entirely. If you're looking to attract top talent, it doesn't always work to put the office in the cheapest location. The cheapest place in the country is likely to be the place where people don't want to live, which hurts when you're trying to attract people who have the choice to work for a lot of companies that might be available in a nicer place. The cheapest part of a metropolitan area, while better than a random place in the country, is still likely inconvenient for transport and may be unsafe or perceived as such. There's also an advantage in putting your office nearby offices of other companies because it makes it easier to hire people away from those companies when you don't have to ask anyone to relocate, and when companies have done this for a few decades cities start to become associated with the industries that have clustered there. If you're willing to compromise on some of that, you can probably get lower costs in various other places at the cost of more difficulty in hiring.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        There's a balance to be struck between the cheapest location, and central London, though, because transport there is anything but cheap, quick and convenient, especially since the nearest actual affordable housing is outside London.

        There are plenty of places that are both nice(ish), accessible, and closer to more "affordable" housing. Not that any housing is actually affordable in this country, but that's another matter...

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        "If you're looking to attract top talent, it doesn't always work to put the office in the cheapest location."

        I see that thinking as self-fulfilling. If you have a family with kids, do you really want to be in downtown London crammed into a flat you can afford or further out in the country with more space and a bit of garden? Commuting to London is possible, but so many do that the trains are packed in the morning and evening since every office opens and closes at roughly the same time. It would be nicer to be in St. Neots most of the time and only go to London when necessary for a meeting and then travel off-peak.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      The business cluster effect, explains why we have film and TV production companies together at the west and northwest edge of the London spread, a motor sports triangle adjacent to where there used to be a motor industry, a science park and bio medical campus at Cambridge etc.

      Then there is Reading and Winnersh that became a software cluster in the last century, presumably because you could fall out of a plane at Heathrow and go the short distance along the M4, but all the big businesses at Thames Valley Park maintain à London office in the theme park that is central London. The emergence of Shoreditch that offered a cheaper location within sight of The City is more obviously a spread effect.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        In economics/game theory I think this is described by "Hotelling’s Model of Spatial Competition"

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        "The business cluster effect, explains why we have film and TV production companies together at the west and northwest edge of the London spread, a motor sports triangle adjacent to where there used to be a motor industry, a science park and bio medical campus at Cambridge etc."

        All of those have tangible needs. If you are looking to film an interview, you need the gear, a studio, etc so it's often nice to have the various facilities and rental houses nearby. It's doesn't have to be in London, though. Some remote recording studios have had top end clientele due to their distant locations. Less distractions. I'm recalling George Martin's AIR Montserrat which a volcano destroyed. For motor sports, London isn't a good choice as everything ancillary such as tracks and machine shops are either impossible or very expensive. I don't see it as a good deal to pay London rates to store vehicles.

    5. hoola Silver badge

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      The view is correct however it is not appropriate to just stop paying the rent because you don't feel like it.

      Musk/Twitter need to continue paying their rent on all the premises and then negotiate their way out of the contracts.

      Just because Musk thinks we does not want to pay does not make it correct. I am sure that he expects to be paid on time. If the company is insolvent that is another matter but at the moment I am not sure that is the case.

      If it is insolvent then do everyone a favour and close Twitter down.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: The fundamental problem with the business

        "Musk/Twitter need to continue paying their rent on all the premises and then negotiate their way out of the contracts."

        The offices were likely more monetary outlay every month than the employees (base salaries without the extreme perks). Moving digs straight away and looking into the company provided benefits would have been a better first move than sacking most of the staff. I recall that Twitter was paying for employees (or spouses) to undergo IVF. That's an expensive process and maybe more couples could conceive if they weren't working 70 hours a week and had the time to spend on the endeavor. It's nice to be able to do things for employees, but that's only if the company is doing well and can afford it. I'm not sure if IVF benefits are that widespread that a company would lose staff over not offering it.

    6. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      "Can anyone explain to me why a company like Twitter needs pricey digs in the center of London? Or any other big city?"

      Years ago when communications were much more expensive and having everybody in one office block was necessary, that's what was done. The pandemic brought to the fore all of the latest technologies that already existed and were put to use as companies could not have offices full of workers by order. Obviously, you can't build a tangible product very efficiently with all of the workers in their own backyard shed, but accounting, advertising and sales can be anywhere and everywhere without making much of a difference. The crucial thing is management adapting by setting goals and new means of evaluating the amount and quality of work being done by staff that can't see with their own eyes. Amongst other things, I do some product development as an independent contractor with some customers in other countries that I have never met in person. Most jobs are by a quoted contract but I still have some where I charge by the hour. The customer gets regular updates and can see exactly what they are paying for. It's dead simple to hold a video conference to go over design considerations and display mockups. Other than being able to just hand somebody a 3D print directly, I can show them what something looks like and even send it to them in a few days if they want to hold it in their hands. Most of the time it's not until late in the process that a customer wants a physical example so photos and video are fine. The tech is getting super cheap.

    7. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The fundamental problem with the business

      "I'm not a great fan of bean counters but a business has to make a profit and it doesn't do so by wasting money on vanity projects"

      The bean counters are a tool. You just have to realize they know the cost of things but not the value. When I had a manufacturing company, I didn't need to use stainless steel screws on the products, but the cost was worth it in my eyes for the aesthetic value of older items not having rusting and seized screws. I think it was around a $.10 difference. Over thousands of items, it's a few quid, but per item is was very little. I also had a bean counter investor that wanted to outsource a particular process to "save" some money. The downside was that we'd have no way to make sure they were using the same high temperature solder we specified and if they substituted regular old solder, we would have pallets of product coming back under warranty. It was a savings vs. risk issue and I found the risk to be far too great. We'd have to eat the cost to repair the products properly and the reputational cost would be incalculable. Just use the tool for a limited purpose but never give them control.

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    More landlords are piling on Elon Musk's Twitter – including the British monarchy

    Send him to the Tower of London - and off with his head!

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: More landlords are piling on Elon Musk's Twitter – including the British monarchy

      Send him to the Tower of London - and off with his head!

      Sadly, the ToL isn't a prison any more. And beheading was reserved for nobility - for peasants like Elon it would be either hanging, burning at the stake or hanging, drawing and quartering.. (hanged from the neck slowly until almost dead from suffocation, taken down then disembowled while alive. The cut into quarters with each quarter ending up on the cardinal direction walls of the city -- although the last bit wasn't often done..)

      1. Ken G Silver badge

        Re: More landlords are piling on Elon Musk's Twitter – including the British monarchy

        If you could charge for the video on Twitter, it'd pay off it's debts in no time.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More landlords are piling on Elon Musk's Twitter – including the British monarchy

        Sadly, the ToL isn't a prison any more. And beheading was reserved for nobility - for peasants like Elon it would be either hanging, burning at the stake or hanging, drawing and quartering.. (hanged from the neck slowly until almost dead from suffocation, taken down then disembowled while alive. The cut into quarters with each quarter ending up on the cardinal direction walls of the city -- although the last bit wasn't often done..)

        HD&Q was often done for traitors - like Guy Fawkes and his mates (except for Mr Fawkes dying too quickly) - and often involved the removal of the entrails and the external genitalia, which were then burnt in front of the hapless, and somewhat lighter, victim before removing the heart and burning that.

        All in all, probably not the best day for the person on the receiving end.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: More landlords are piling on Elon Musk's Twitter – including the British monarchy

        "Sadly, the ToL isn't a prison any more."

        That wouldn't be hard to change. A couple of rooms in one of the towers. I expect that the tourist business would hit all-time highs with the Wardens pointing out where Elon is being held and Mr Musk sighted once in a while from one of the windows. They could even sell Elon Musk dolls in the gift shop with him wearing a stripy jumper.

  8. Black Label1
    Black Helicopters

    Press email

    ..."but we doubt anyone even has the press email login these days"

    Funny

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daily operating losses

    "68 eight-port Belkin power strips still in the box"

    Heck, that's $4m right there!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daily operating losses

      Careful, that grifter has probably removed the copper in them for their scrap value.

  10. nematoad
    Unhappy

    Not quite.

    The King of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

    No, his title is: Charles III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    He is also the head of state of a number of other countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    Amongst his other titles is: Head of the Commonwealth. Why that should be is a mystery to me as AFAIK that position is not hereditary and I seem to recall that there was talk of having someone other than Charles as head.

    Deciding to use "International English" despite El Reg's British roots is one thing but to mangle the nomenclature of the British sovereign is another. That's just sloppy.

    Does everything here now have to echo a US perspective?

    1. johnfbw

      Head of Commonwealth

      Because they voted for him! (unlike all his other titles)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Head of Commonwealth

        From wikipedia "n 2018, following the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Commonwealth leaders declared that Charles would be the next head of the Commonwealth,[36] while the role remained non-hereditary.[37][38] Consequently, after the Queen's death on 8 September 2022, Charles automatically became Head of the Commonwealth."

        Sounds like a vote to me! More of a ceremonial "Prime Minister" position and definitely not a "Head of State" position, so being voted on an elected by the leaders of the Commonwealth nations sounds perfectly reasonable rather than a full on public vote in each member nation, ie just how most Prime Ministers are elected, by the party, not the people. Or in the US, the Speaker of the House, also very powerful but not head of state. (Remember, the Speaker of the House need not themselves be elected into government, but elected BY the house, not the people)

        1. johnfbw

          Re: Head of Commonwealth

          Exactly, the commonwealth leaders voted Charles to be head.

          Guess I was down voted because people don't see the difference between nepotism and hereditary

        2. Rikki Tikki

          Re: Head of Commonwealth

          Unlike the US, in most Commonwealth countries, the head of state - whether monarch or president - is the ceremonial position, the prime minister is the one with the power.

          Some exceptions, such as Brunei (the sultan and the prime minister are the same person) and Eswatini.

      2. nematoad
        Thumb Up

        Re: Head of Commonwealth

        Oh, they held an election for Commonwealth head and he won. I stand corrected.

        Well that's their prerogative I suppose.

        Speaking as a (British) republican I wish that we had the same choice.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Head of Commonwealth

          "Speaking as a (British) republican I wish that we had the same choice."

          "Oh, they held an election for party leader and he won. (became Prime Minister)"

          Umm, let's a play a game of spot the difference, shall we?

          Some people voted for Liz Truss to be an MP, but the rest us us didn't get to vote her in as PM. Some difference, but when it comes to the "top job", the people don't get a vote in the UK. I feel as though I'm repeating myself here. You being a republican doesn't change the facts, whether you like them or not.

          1. nematoad

            Re: Head of Commonwealth

            I may have phrased that badly.

            The election of the head of government is one thing, and I have no problems with that. After all the country gets the government it votes for. The trouble is that once they win an election we are stuck with them even if people are screaming in frustration and anger until such time as they either voluntarily go to the country or are forced to by law. And yes, the musical chairs at No. 10 Downing Street is an insult to all British citizens.

            What I should have made clear is that I was referring to the position of head of state.

            Sorry if I confused anyone.

          2. johnfbw

            Re: Head of Commonwealth

            Given the leader of the UK is the king (an unelected position) and republicans are against that it is pretty relevant

    2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: Not quite.

      No, his title is: Charles III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

      In the United Kingdom, his title is Charles III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

      In Canada, he is King of Canada.

      In Australia, he is King of Australia.

      In New Zealand, he is King of New Zealand.

      In Tuvalu, he is King of Tuvalu.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Not quite.

        And, likewise, he's not necessarily King Charles III in many of those places in the same way that Queen Elizabeth II of England was "merely" Queen Elizabeth in Scotland since the previous English Queen of that name was never Queen of Scotland. (ISTR there was a bit of a kerfuffle in Scotland when the first new Royal Mail post boxes were appearing after QEII's coronation and they had to be changed to remove the II from the crest)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not quite.

      In Straylia, he’s King Chucky, the Queen’s awkward son.

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Not quite.

      He used to be "Nambawan pikinini bilong Misis Kwin" in Papua New Guinea. I have not found an update for that. I hope "helper of cows" is still valid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not quite.

        “Helper of cows”

        There’s no need to bring up Camilla.

    5. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Not quite.

      Charles, third of his name, king of the Angles and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm

      1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

        Re: Not quite.

        Father-in-law of dragons?

  11. jollyboyspecial

    Said it before,,,

    ... and I'll say it again

    Musk seems to genuinely believe that Twitter commitments both legal and financial and outstanding debts from before he took over the company do no apply post takeover. This is clearly nonsense, but that doesn't seem to have deterred him from welching on a whole load of commitments and debts.

    We've seen it often enough before. I recall a story from a couple of years ago of a struggling retail company in the UK where the new owner thought he could simply re-negotiate rental agreements on a whole load of properties and the landlords would have to comply with his idea that he should pay a lot less rent. The knob in question seemed genuinely surprised when most of the landlords rebuffed his approaches without any negotiation at all.

    The difference here is that while some people at least try to re-negotiate debts and contracts, Musk thinks it's acceptable to simply ignore them and hope they will just melt away.

    Am I the only one that thinks this isn't going to end well for Musk? Paying off the loans he took out to buy Twitter is certainly within his means, which makes you wonder why he took out the loans in the first place. But when I say it's not going to end well I mean more in terms of his reputation in business. He was adamant he could turn Twitter round and make massive profits pretty quickly. If he doesn't, and it looks very unlikely that he will, that's going to tarnish his golden boy image.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Said it before,,,

      "Paying off the loans he took out to buy Twitter is certainly within his means, which makes you wonder why he took out the loans in the first place."

      Three reasons. First, if he sold enough stock to cover the entire purchase, he would have had to pay more in taxes and he didn't want to do that. Second, if he sold that much of mostly Tesla stock, he would weaken his voting power (though probably not enough to matter) and decrease confidence in the stock so it would decline faster than it already has. Third, if he crashes Twitter into a cliff by doing stupid things, he'll end up losing less money because he can wipe out some banks' investments too. Basically, if you're rich, banks will give you money for next to free (cheaper than the alternative of liquidating your investment) and take on the risks. Being rich has advantages.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Said it before,,,

      "Paying off the loans he took out to buy Twitter is certainly within his means"

      That's hard to say. At least some of Elon's Tesla stock is pledged as security against loans already, it's just a question of how much. With the precipitous drop in Tesla's stock price, he may have had to pledge more to maintain security for the loans and stock isn't taken on a 1:1 basis.

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