Elon Musk no longer needs Twitter, but Twitter still needs Elon Musk. At least its shareholders. Most of them really spoke in favor of the takeover of the social network by an American billionaire, people familiar with this issue reported on Monday, September 12.
Shareholders have until Tuesday to make a decision, but sources said enough of them had already voted on Monday night for the result to be final. Sources asked to remain anonymous until the results are officially announced. Neither Twitter nor representatives of Elon Musk have yet responded to a request for comment.
Recall that Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla, backed out of an agreement in early July that would have allowed him to acquire Twitter for $44 billion. He accuses the group of violating their contractual obligations by providing erroneous or incomplete data on the number of fake accounts. The social network denied these accusations and filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk for violating the buyout agreement.
Timely informant for Musk
Rebound in business at the end of August. Former head of security at Twitter, Peter Zatko, who posed as a whistleblower, confirms Elon Musk’s allegations. In an 84-page document sent in July to several US authorities, he accuses the social network of hiding vulnerabilities in its security system and lying about its fight against fake accounts.
The accusations were taken by Elon Musk in support of his cause. Nicknamed “Madge,” Peter Zatko is scheduled to answer questions from a Senate committee on Tuesday, September 13, about his report to authorities this summer.
However, for the billionaire’s lawyer, the new elements presented by the whistleblower are not necessary to justify breach of contract. They only represent, according to him, additional arguments “in the event that the notice of termination of activities of July 8 is declared invalid for any reason.”
An opinion not shared by everyone. “Before the development of Zatko, Wall Street gave Twitter the winner” during the trial in the specialized court, said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. The launch is scheduled for October 17th. In the meantime, new developments are not ruled out.
ZOOM: WHO IS PETER ZATKO, THE DISCOVERER WHO JUDGES TWITTER
The son of two scientists, 51-year-old Peter Zatko grew up in Alabama and Pennsylvania, dividing his time between music and computers. In 1996, he joined a group of hackers called L0pht, with whom he testified before Congress two years later. “This was the first time the US government has mentioned ‘hackers’ in a positive context,” he tweeted in May 2019. He then held various positions at Google and Stripe (an online payment services company), then at Darpa, a Pentagon research agency.
Jack Dorsey, founder and former Twitter boss, recruited him in July 2020 after a spectacular hack of celebrity and political figures (including Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian). In January 2021, Joe Biden’s transition team offered him the position of White House Security Director. He refuses, believing that, according to his lawyers, he still has a job for the social network.
According to Twitter, he was fired in January 2022 due to “poor leadership and poor performance.” “Lies,” his lawyers answer. According to them, Mudge was fired after a run-in with management (including current boss Parag Agrawal), who allegedly refused to acknowledge the security concerns that management had raised. By issuing the warning, “he put his career on the line because of his concern for Twitter users, the public and shareholders,” they say.