The epic saga of Elon Musk The Twitter-on-off-again purchase again turned toward conclusion Tuesday after Mercurial Tesla’s CEO suggested buying the company at the originally agreed price of $44 billion..
Musk made the sudden switch not on Twitter, as he usually did, but in a message to Twitter that the company disclosed in a filing Tuesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. This came less than two weeks before the scheduled start of the trial between the parties in Delaware.
In response, Twitter said it intends to close the deal at $54.20 per share after receiving the letter from Musk. But the company stopped short of saying it had dropped its lawsuit against the billionaire CEO of Tesla. Experts said that makes sense given the contentious relationship and mistrust between the two parties.
“I don’t think Twitter is going to give up its test date just based on Musk’s word – it’s going to need more certainty about the shutdown,” said Andrew Jennings, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, noting that the company might also be concerned about Musk’s suggestion of a delay tactic. After all, he had already tried to postpone the trial twice to no avail.
Trading in Twitter shares, which had been idle for most of the day pending news, resumed trading late Tuesday and rose 22% to close at $52.
Musk’s suggestion The latest development in a high-level epic It features the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms. Much of the drama was played out on Twitter itself, with Musk – who has more than 100 million followers – lamenting that the company had failed to live up to its potential as a platform for free speech and had too many bots.
While there are still some logistical and legal hurdles, Musk could be in charge of Twitter within days — however long it takes he and his investors to accumulate money, said Ann Lipton, associate professor of law at Tulane University.
A letter from Musk’s attorney dated Monday and disclosed by Twitter in a securities filing said Musk would shut down the merger signed in April, on the condition that Delaware Court of Appeals enter an “immediate halt” to Twitter’s lawsuit against him and adjourn the trial scheduled to begin in October. 17.
Eric Talley, a professor of law at Columbia University, said he wasn’t surprised by Musk’s conversion, especially ahead of Musk’s scheduled filing by Twitter’s attorney starting Thursday that “it wouldn’t be fun.”
“On the legal grounds, his case didn’t seem that strong,” Talley said. “It kind of sounded like a very simple buyer’s remorse.”
Musk’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Musk had been trying to back out of the deal for several months after signing the purchase of the San Francisco company in April. Shareholders have already approved the sale, and legal experts say Musk has faced a major challenge to defend against Twitter’s lawsuit, which was filed in July.
Musk claimed that Twitter reduced the number of fake accounts on its platformand Twitter sued when Musk announced the deal was being halted.
Musk’s argument was based largely on the claim that Twitter misrepresented how it measures the volume of “spam” accounts that don’t benefit advertisers. Most legal experts believe he faced an uphill battle to convince Chancellor Kathleen St. Jude McCormick, the court’s judge, that something had changed since the merger agreement in April justifying the deal’s termination.
Musk’s main argument for ending the deal – that Twitter was misrepresenting how it measured the “spam” problem – was not going well because Twitter was working to dismantle Musk’s attempts to get third-party data scientists to support his concerns.
Neither Musk nor Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal wrote anything about the deal on Twitter, where several developments in the dispute have been broadcast. Several of Musk’s tweets over the past 24 hours have been about a divisive proposal to end the Russian invasion of UkraineThis angered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Jasmine Enberg, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, said that even if the deal now goes through without a hitch, it’s too early to declare Twitter a winner.
“The deal will resolve some short-term uncertainty in the company, but Twitter is basically in the same place it was in April,” she said. “There is still a lot of uncertainty about what Musk intends to do with Twitter, as well as the future of a company with a leader who has wavered in his commitment to buying it. And if we’ve learned anything from this story, it’s that Musk is unpredictable and isn’t over yet.”
Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.
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