Call it the biggest deleted tweet of all time: Elon Musk now wants to withdraw from his deal to buy Twitter.
Musk said Friday he was terminating his $ 44 billion offer for Twitter, citing “material breach of multiple terms” of the agreement, claiming Twitter had not responded to multiple requests for information about fake or spam accounts on the social media platform.
Bret Taylor, chairman of Twitter’s board, said the board was “committed to concluding the deal on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk has agreed and plans to take legal action to enforce the merger agreement. “
The Washington Post first reported in July that Musk’s team had halted some discussions about funding for the deal, raising serious concerns about the “fire hose” data sent from Twitter. Musk was critical of Twitter and the appearance of spam accounts on the social media site.
But Twitter’s share price has also fallen since it first announced its takeover bid.
It’s unclear whether Musk will be able to walk away from his concerns about spam accounts alone, and Musk could still be on the hook for $ 1 billion, even if he convinces a judge to get him back out of the deal.
Musk had until October 24 to close the $ 44 billion deal or pay a $ 1 billion termination fee. With an estimated net worth far north of $ 200 billion, the entrepreneur should have no trouble absorbing the loss.
Musk had many reasons for getting cold feet, one of which was the accidental damage his ownership suffered to run his other businesses.
The ownership and operation of Twitter comes with inevitable controversy, and the overflow to Tesla, whose share fell about 20% shortly after Musk forced the Twitter sale, was presumably not worth the risk.
The transaction would also self proclaim “Freedom of speech absolutist” in an awkward confrontation with China, where, despite a ban, the social network remains a thorn in Beijing’s side.
China manufactures about half of Tesla’s cars and accounts for a quarter of the company’s revenue, giving it a high degree of leverage over any platform owned by Musk.
With the deal off the table, perhaps the world’s richest man will get along to complete some of his other side projects.