Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced on Friday he is terminating his $44 billion Twitter takeover bid.
Musk’s legal team said in a US Securities and Exchange (SEC) filing that he is terminating the deal because Twitter was in “material breach” of their agreement and had made “false and misleading” statements during negotiations.
The micro-blogging platform, however, fired back immediately, saying it would sue the Tesla chief executive to uphold the deal.
The news which came as a surprise on Friday is the latest twist in a saga between the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms, and it may portend a titanic legal battle ahead.
Twitter could have pushed for a $1-billion breakup fee that Musk had already agreed to pay under these circumstances. However, the social media platform is adamant about completing the purchase, which the company’s board has approved and Chief Executive Parag Agrawal has insisted he wants to follow through.
“This whole process has been bizarre,” said Christopher Bouzy, founder of research firm Bot Sentinel, which tracks fake Twitter accounts used for disinformation or harassment. “He knew about this problem. It’s odd that he would use bots and trolls and inauthentic accounts as a way of getting out of the deal.”
On the other hand, Bouzy said, the letter from Musk’s legal team makes some valid critiques of Twitter’s lack of transparency, including its refusal to provide Musk with the same level of internal data it offers some of its big customers.
“It just seems as if they’re hiding something,” said Bouzy, who also believes the number of fake or spam Twitter accounts is higher than what the company has reported.
In a tweet, Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor wrote, “The board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement”.
“We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery,” he added.
Joshua is a multidisciplinary creative and tech enthusiast who seeks to create meaningful experiences that make for a better and more equal world. He is a creative entrepreneur and human rights activist whose work navigates socio-cultural discourse and how it can be used as a vehicle for change.