Elon Musk considered delaying Twitter takeover, worried about ‘World War III’

Lawyers for the social network have revealed an SMS from the billionaire proving, according to them, that the question of fake accounts is only a pretext to cancel the sale of Twitter to Elon Musk.

As the trial between Elon Musk and Twitter – set for October 17 – is fast approaching, the two parties continue to clash through interposed proceedings. The challenge for the social network: to force the billionaire to acquire the company at the price promised when it was announced ($44 billion).

The boss of Tesla is looking for his part to derail this takeover which he no longer wants. Officially, Elon Musk ensures that the social network actually has too many fake accounts, calling into question the announced share of 5% of bots on the platform. At the end of August, the revelations of a whistleblower also seemed to accredit the arguments of the billionaire. However, the valuation of the company (and therefore the redemption value) depends on the number of accounts actually active over the period. The share of fake accounts is therefore a key element.

But Twitter does not intend to let it go. The group, which has lost feathers on the stock market since the start of the affair, ensures that this question of false accounts is only a pretext. As proof, an SMS from Elon Musk brandished by the lawyers of the social network during a hearing in Delaware on Tuesday supposed to rule on a possible postponement of the October trial.

“Let’s slow down for a few days,” he wrote to Morgan Stanley banker Michael Grimes on May 8, several weeks after announcing the takeover. “Putin’s speech tomorrow is hugely important. It wouldn’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re heading into World War III.”

For Twitter, this SMS is proof that the boss of Tesla was more worried about the dark clouds over the global economy and the protection of his own financial interests than the question of bots. However, in this thorny case, Musk cannot retract without paying significant compensation, unless he proves that he did not have all the information to clearly judge the value of the company. In this case, it is the question of bots that could justify this refusal.

If justice considers that the argument does not hold, Elon Musk will then have to pay compensation for the breakdown of negotiations, provided for in the takeover contract, of one billion dollars to Twitter. But the social network could also obtain additional damages.

Thomas Le Roy Journalist BFM Business

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