X Grants Employees RSUs at $45 Share Price, Valuation Drops by 55% in a Year

X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has recently been valued at $19 billion, based on its employee equity compensation plan. This marks a staggering 55% discount compared to the $44 billion owner Elon Musk paid when he acquired the platform just a year ago.

The privately-held company on Monday awarded Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) to its employees at a share price of $45, as confirmed by internal documents seen by Fortune and The Verge.

Employees at X were informed of the equity grant agreements via email. These RSUs are designed to be earned over a four-year period from their grant date, contingent upon a “liquidity event” such as an IPO or sale of the company, at which point they would be subject to taxation as income.

If the company goes public, RSUs will continue to vest as scheduled, according to Platformer managing editor Zoe Schiffer who shared details from the employee stock plan on Threads on Tuesday. 

Schiffer also pointed out that the paperwork states that “Under the Plan, Fair Market Value is determined by the Administrator in its sole discretion, unless our common stock is admitted to trading on a national securities exchange or is traded in an over-the-counter market. The Administrator is not required to obtain a valuation from a third party in making such determination.”

READ: Twitter’s Value Down by 65%, Fidelity Reports

In March, the company previously offered an employee stock plan that valued the company at $20 billion. Last week, Fidelity, the mutual fund company that contributed over $300 million to Musk’s takeover of Twitter, revealed that they were making down their investment by 8%, putting Twitter’s value at 65% less than it was bought for.

In the year since Musk’s takeover, usage, engagement, and advertising have all been on a downward trajectory. New Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino reported single-digit revenue growth across advertising, data licensing, and subscriptions to investors early in October.

But Musk believes that things are still going according to plan, at least toward X becoming the “everything app” he aspired for it to be. According to an October 26 all-hands meeting (a leaked transcript of which can be found on The Verge), Musk justified the messy transition by saying that he thinks “this is the fastest rate of innovation maybe ever for any internet company.” 

Information for this story was found via The Verge, Fortune, Zoe Schiffer, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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