Business

Elon Musk Twitter deal back on in surprise u-turn

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, Musk agreed to pay the price he offered months ago before trying to quit the deal, reports the BBC.

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

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

In the letter, attorneys for Musk, a prolific Twitter user with more than 100 million followers, 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 at the $54.20 per share price Musk promised in April.

The apparent win for Twitter sent its shares soaring more than 20% to more than $52 apiece. But the value remained lower than the takeover price, in a sign of lingering investor doubts the deal will go through.

When Musk first revealed plans to buy Twitter in a $44bn deal, he said he wanted to clean up spam accounts on the platform and preserve it as a venue for free speech.

But the billionaire, known for his impulsive style, 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 executives denied the accusations, arguing that 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 followed a sharp downturn in the value of technology stocks, including Tesla, the electric car company that Musk leads and is the base of much of his fortune.

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

In one such exchange, 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.

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.

 

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