Elon Musk Twitter deal back on in surprise u-turn

October 5, 2022 5:57 am

[Source: Reuters]

Billionaire Elon Musk has apparently changed his mind about buying Twitter, again, and is now willing to proceed with his takeover of the social media platform.

In a letter to the firm, Mr Musk agreed to pay the price he offered months ago before trying to quit the deal.

The surprise reversal comes just weeks before the two sides were due in court.

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Twitter, which had sued Mr Musk to force the takeover to move forward, was seen as having the better case.

In the letter, attorneys for Mr Musk said he intended to move ahead to complete the transaction, pending receipt of the financing, and asked to end the legal fight.

A spokesperson for Twitter said it had received the letter and planned to close the deal.

News that Mr Musk had proposed to honour the original agreement sent shares in the company soaring almost 13% before trading was halted.

Mr Musk, a prolific Twitter user with more than 100 million followers, first offered to buy the firm for $54.20 per share in April. The agreement valued the social media platform at roughly $44bn.

At the time the billionaire, known for his impulsive style, said he wanted to clean up spam accounts on the platform and preserve it as a venue for free speech.

But he balked at the purchase just a few weeks later, citing concerns that the number of fake accounts on the platform was higher than Twitter claimed.

Twitter denied the accusations, arguing that Mr Musk – the world’s richest person with a net worth of more than $220bn – wanted out because he was worried about the price.

The back and forth came amid a sharp downturn in the value of technology stocks, including Tesla, the electric car company that Mr Musk leads and is the base of much of his fortune.

The fight, which was scheduled to go to trial 17 October, saw the two sides face off in lengthy court filings, private messages and bitter public spats on Twitter.

In one such exchange, Mr Musk responded to Twitter boss Parag Agrawal with an emoji for fecal matter.

Preparation for the trial had ensnarled many of the biggest names in tech, as lawyers for the two companies demanded communications about the deal.

Mr Musk, who could have paid a $1bn break-up fee to walk away, was set to be interviewed ahead of the trial this week.

Some industry watchers, who were taken by surprise by the development, questioned whether the latest twist was a concrete offer or a delay tactic.