Science

Elon Musk Considered Postponing Twitter Takeover Due to ‘World War III’

Social network lawyers released an SMS message from a billionaire, proving, in their opinion, that the issue of fake accounts is just an excuse to cancel the sale of Twitter to Elon Musk.

As the lawsuit between Elon Musk and Twitter, set for October 17, is fast approaching, the two parties continue to clash over interlocutory proceedings. The task of the social network: to force the billionaire to acquire the company at the price promised at its announcement ($44 billion).

The Tesla boss is looking for a role to thwart this takeover, which he no longer wants. Officially, Elon Musk assures that there are actually too many fake accounts on the social network, casting doubt on the claimed share of 5% of bots on the platform. In late August, the whistleblower’s revelations also seemed to confirm the billionaire’s arguments. However, the company’s valuation (and hence the buyout value) depends on the number of accounts actually active during the period. Thus, the proportion of fake accounts is a key element.

But Twitter has no intention of letting him go. The group, which has lost feathers in the stock market since the start of the case, ensures that this issue of false accounts is only a pretext. As evidence, there is a text message from Elon Musk waved by the social network’s lawyers during a hearing in Delaware on Tuesday, which was supposed to decide 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, weeks after the takeover was announced. “Putin’s speech tomorrow is of great importance. There’s no point in buying Twitter if we’re heading for World War III.”

For Twitter, this SMS is proof that the Tesla boss was more concerned about the dark clouds over the global economy and protecting his own financial interests than the issue of bots. However, in this delicate matter, Musk cannot refuse without paying substantial compensation, unless he can prove that he did not have all the information to unequivocally judge the company’s value. In this case, we are talking about bots that could justify this refusal.

If justice finds that the argument is not valid, Elon Musk will then have to pay Twitter compensation for the failure of the negotiations, provided for in the takeover agreement, in the amount of one billion dollars. But the social network could receive additional losses.

Thomas Le Roy BFM Business journalist

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