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Elon Musk formally moves to terminate Twitter’s $44 billion acquisition

Credit: Kevin Krejci/Flickr CC BY 2.0

In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Tesla CEO Elon Musk formally moved to terminate his acquisition attempt of social media platform Twitter. Musk and the Twitter board had agreed to a buyout at $54.20 per share, or $44 billion.

In a letter, Musk’s legal team stated that despite the Tesla CEO’s requests for critical data on the social media platform’s users, Twitter had been uncooperative. Skadden Arps attorney Mike Ringler wrote that “Twitter has not complied with its contractual obligations.”

Musk had demanded more data from Twitter after the social media company noted in an SEC filing that less than 5% of its users are fake accounts. Musk has noted that he believes Twitter’s estimates are grossly inaccurate.

“Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information,” the lawyer wrote.

“Twitter has not provided information that Mr. Musk has requested for nearly two months notwithstanding his repeated, detailed clarifications intended to simplify Twitter’s identification, collection, and disclosure of the most relevant information sought in Mr. Musk’s original requests,” Ringler added.

The lawyer added that while Twitter did eventually provide Musk with some information, the information was limited and came with strings attached.

“While Twitter has provided some information, that information has come with strings attached, use limitations or other artificial formatting features, which has rendered some of the information minimally useful to Mr. Musk and his advisors. For example, when Twitter finally provided access to the eight developer “APIs” first explicitly requested by Mr. Musk in the May 25 Letter, those APIs contained a rate limit lower than what Twitter provides to its largest enterprise customers,” he wrote.

Ringler also noted that Twitter had breached its merger agreement with Musk because of “materially inaccurate representations.” This is reportedly based on Musk’s own preliminary review of spam accounts on Twitter. The social media company, for its part, has maintained that it’s not possible to calculate spam accounts from solely public information.

“While this analysis remains ongoing, all indications suggest that several of Twitter’s public disclosures regarding its mDAUs are either false or materially misleading. Despite public speculation on this point, Mr. Musk did not waive his right to review Twitter’s data and information simply because he chose not to seek this data and information before entering into the Merger Agreement. In fact, he negotiated access and information rights within the Merger Agreement precisely so that he could review data and information that is important to Twitter’s business before financing and completing the transaction,” Ringler wrote.

In response to Musk’s filing, Twitter Board Chairman Bret Taylor has stated that Twitter is still committed to closing the deal with the Tesla CEO. Taylor also made it a point that Twitter is looking to close Musk’s acquisition at the agreed-upon price of $44 billion.

“The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery,” Taylor wrote.

Musk’s filing can be viewed below.

Elon Twitter Acquisition Termination by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Elon Musk formally moves to terminate Twitter’s $44 billion acquisition
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