Want a giant neon Twitter bird? This is one of many items up for auction.
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, the company has been in turmoil as he slashed costs, laid off half of the company’s full-time employees and looked for new ways to boost revenue.
Now, Twitter is auctioning off excess assets from its San Francisco headquarters, dumping artifacts from a barely bygone era in Bay Area tech. While the online auction doesn’t signal the end of Twitter, the collection hints at a more plentiful time when the company’s tastes reflected its status as a hot employer in the tech world.
The 631 lots include a blue electric light display in the shape of Twitter’s bird logo, which had attracted a bid of over $17,000; a bird statue, which had a bid of $16,000; a six-foot decorative planter in the shape of the “@” symbol (the bid could reach $4,100); and five espresso machines made by Italian company La Marzocco, one of which attracted a bid of $11,000.
Ross Dove, managing director of Heritage Global, the parent company of Heritage Global Partners, which runs the auction, said more than 20,000 people had registered to bid online, more than at any of the thousands of auctions the company has managed for 90 years. in the business.
He said the number of registered bidders had “amazingly exceeded” even those at previous high-profile auctions, such as those that sold items from Enron, Solyndra and Drexel Burnham Lambert after their spectacular collapses.
“Assets are really good because they’ve bought the best of the best, but I don’t believe we would have had this crowd without the Twitter fascination,” Dove said. Speaking of Mr. Musk, he added: “Everything he does attracts attention.”
Mr. Dove said he expected the auction to fetch Twitter around $1.5 million after the auction closed, which kicked off on Tuesday, Wednesday. That sum wouldn’t “move the needle” for a company Mr. Musk bought for $44 billion, Mr. Dove said. But he said it was nonetheless “good corporate governance” for any company to auction off excess equipment.
“If you don’t use an espresso machine because you have extras,” Mr. Dove said, “why are you keeping it on?”
Twitter, which no longer has a communications service, did not respond to a request for comment on the auction on Tuesday, which comes as the company cut costs to stabilize its finances.
In December, The New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported that Twitter had stopped paying rent for its Seattle office and was facing eviction. Janitorial and security services were also cut, and in some cases employees had to bring their own toilet paper to the office.
Now, as Twitter unloads the lounge chairs, tables, and restaurant-grade slicers and blenders, some who knew the company from pre-Musk days are feeling a pang of nostalgia.
“Crazy to see Twitter office up for auction,” Kevin Weil, a former Twitter executive, wrote on Twitter, as he marveled at the objects. “Meeting tables, phone booths, chairs, monitors…even the Twitter bird statue. Good memories of another era.”