Elon Musk is ready to buy Twitter after altering his plans.
Elon Musk, a billionaire, wants to move through with his initial $44 billion plan to take Twitter Inc. private, according to security documents released on Tuesday. Musk wants to put an end to a lawsuit brought by the social media giant that might have required him to make a payment whether he wanted to or not.
An agreement would hand over control of one of the most powerful media platforms to the richest man on the planet and put an end to months of court battles that hurt Twitter’s reputation and fed Musk’s reputation for acting erratically.
Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc, will take over a company he originally committed to buying in April, but soon soured on. Late on Tuesday he tweeted that buying Twitter would speed up his ambition to create an “everything app” called X.
The renewed offer comes ahead of a highly anticipated face-off between Musk and Twitter in Delaware’s Court of Chancery on Oct. 17, in which the social media company was set to seek an order directing Musk to close the deal for $44 billion.
On Monday, Musk sent a letter to Twitter stating that, in the event that the Delaware court halted the proceedings, he planned to carry out the agreement under its original terms. According to a source acquainted with the Twitter team, the judge asked the two parties to return in the evening at a court hearing on Tuesday morning.
Musk’s decision to give up the fight was not immediately clear, while some speculated that it had something to do with his upcoming deposition.
“He was about to get deposed and a lot of uncomfortable facts were going to come out,” said Eric Talley, a professor at Columbia Law School.
Twitter received Musk’s letter and intended to close the deal at the original price, a spokesperson told Reuters. Twitter did not say whether it accepted Musk’s offer.
Musk, one of Twitter’s most prominent users, said in July he could walk away without penalty because the number of bot accounts was much higher than Twitter’s estimate of less than 5% of users. Bots are automated accounts, and their use can lead to overestimations of how many humans are on the service, which is important for advertising rates and the overall value of the service.
Twitter’s legal team on Sept. 27 said that scientists employed by Musk estimated the number of fake accounts on the platform at 5.3% and 11%.
“None of these analyses so far as we can tell remotely supported what Mr. Musk told Twitter and told the world,” Twitter lawyer Bradley Wilson told the court.
The original deal was “a very seller-friendly agreement that would be very difficult to get out of,” said Adam Badawi, a law professor at UC Berkeley. Musk realized, he said, “in all likelihood it was going to result in forcing him to close at $54.20 a share.”