Twitter’s revenue, adjusted revenue, was down about 40% in the month of December

Twitter Inc. reported a drop in sales and adjusted earnings for the month of December after many advertisers left the social media platform following the Elon Musk acquisition, according to people familiar with the matter.

In an update to investors, Twitter reported a roughly 40% year-over-year decline in both revenue and adjusted earnings for the month, the people said.

Chief ExecutiveMr. Musk, who completed his acquisition of Twitter last October, is working to stabilize the company’s finances, which have also been challenged by high levels of debt. Twitter is responsible for paying back about $13 billion in debt that helped pay for Mr. Musk’s purchase of the company, with annual interest payments estimated at more than $1 billion.

The company recently made an initial interest payment to a group of banks that borrowed the $13 billion, the people said.

One way Mr. Musk wants to increase Twitter’s revenue is by selling paid subscriptions to users, which allow them to edit tweets and access subscriber-only features on the platform. Mr. Musk’s new subscription was relaunched on Dec. 12 after a clumsy initial rollout in November.

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As a publicly traded company, Twitter has not disclosed monthly financial data as of December 2021. For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2021, Twitter reported $1.57 billion in revenue, with net income of $182 million.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company recently said some advertisers are returning to the platform, the Journal previously reported. Last year also saw a slowdown in online marketing that affected many digital advertising platforms as people spent less time online than in the early days of the pandemic and advertisers worried about a potential economic downturn curbing spending.

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Mr Musk has said he expects Twitter to break even by 2023. “Twitter still has challenges, but is now moving towards break-even if we persevere,” he said in a tweet in February.

Banks, including Morgan Stanley, Barclays PLC and Bank of America Corp. who loaned Mr. Musk the $13 billion he used to help buy Twitter have failed to sell that debt to outside investors, a common practice when banks help fund big buyouts. The run-up of so-called pending debt parked on bank balance sheets has tied up some of their firepower to support other major M&A deals, a factor in the current deals drought.

Mr Musk’s team had been exploring raising additional capital that could be used to pay down some of the most expensive debt it borrowed in connection with his purchase of the company, The Wall Street Journal reported. earlier. Some of Twitter’s debt carries an annual interest rate of nearly 15%.

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Shortly after Mr. Musk took over Twitter, many advertisers stopped spending on the platform – a cause for concern given that ads will account for nearly 90% of Twitter’s revenue by 2021. approaching advertisers to get them back on the platform.

According to an analysis by research firm Pathmatics, which is part of Sensor Tower, more than 70 of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers before Musk’s acquisition did not spend on the platform in the week ending Feb. 25.

Mr. Musk is also taking steps to rein in costs. He said in December that Twitter’s workforce had dropped to about 2,000 from nearly 8,000 before he took over the company and that he was “cutting costs like crazy”. The company made more layoffs over the weekend, but declined to disclose the number of cuts.

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Twitter posted a net loss in eight out of 10 years from 2012 to 2021 and has not posted annual gains since 2019.

—Patience Haggin contributed to this article

Write to Alexander Saeedy at, Laura Cooper at, and Alexa Corse at


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