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Mars, birth rates but no Twitter: Elon Musk charms Sun Valley moguls

Mars, birth rates but no Twitter: Elon Musk charms Sun Valley moguls
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SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/

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JULY 9 (Reuters) – Elon Musk avoided discussing the failed Twitter deal when he addressed an audience of moguls in Sun Valley on Saturday, two sources attending the conference told Reuters.

In a wide-ranging interview, Musk spent most of his time talking about colonizing Mars and touting the benefits of boosting birth rates on Earth, the sources said. Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and the rocket company Space X, have long advocated establishing a civilization on the red planet.

Musk earlier this week said he would do his best to help the so-called “underpopulation crisis” after a media report said he had twins with a top executive at his brain-chip startup Neuralink. Continue reading

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He spoke about how birth rates are falling in affluent countries, a topic he has explored extensively on Twitter.

The billionaire entrepreneur took the stage at the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference, an annual gathering of media and technology leaders in Idaho, less than 24 hours after announcing he had completed his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc. would end (TWTR.N).

The interview was conducted by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research firm founded by Musk and several others.

Musk’s arrival at the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference this week delivered a shock to the off-record event where the headlines are usually behind the prying eyes of the media.

“It just seems like an absolute mess,” said a senior media executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity before the interview. “Dude makes his own rules … I would hate to be Twitter where you have to take this guy seriously.”

Sun Valley is usually blanketed like a sports version of the Met Gala, with photographers capturing the arrival of fleece-clad media moguls and reporters noting power lunches at the on-property cake shop-cafe.

A Hollywood powerbroker on Friday expressed hope that the Musk interview would liven up the staid, cerebral atmosphere of this year’s conference.

Hours later, Musk’s lawyers sent an eight-page letter to Twitter saying he plans to call off the deal to acquire the social network. The document, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleges that Twitter has not responded to repeated requests for information or obtained its consent in the past two months before taking actions that would affect its business, such as: B. the dismissal of two key executives. Continue reading

Up to this point, talk in media circles has focused on Wall Street’s reassessment of the streaming business after Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) subscriber losses.

A digital media executive said Hollywood, which has normally been isolated from recessions, is suddenly concerned about how a deteriorating economy will affect its multibillion-dollar investments in streaming services.

“For the first time, people are aware that the economy is affecting the entertainment business because inflation is affecting churn,” the digital media executive said, referring to subscribers leaving a service. “Now people are like, ‘Wow, are people really going to pay for three of these things?'”

Following Musk’s announcement, a CEO noting the elephant in the room said Saturday’s comments could make two conference attendees uncomfortable: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal.

One of Musk’s final public messages to Agrawal came in the form of a tweet of a poop emoji in response to the Twitter CEO’s defense of how the company accounts for spam bots. Continue reading

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Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Editing by Kenneth Li, Franklin Paul and Chris Reese

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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