Elon Musk Seeks To Back Out Of Buying Twitter

The heavy hitter seems to have some Twitter jitters, saying Friday he was terminating the $44 billion deal.
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The first European factory in Gruenheide, designed for 500,000 vehicles per year, is an important pillar of Tesla's future strategy. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The first European factory in Gruenheide, designed for 500,000 vehicles per year, is an important pillar of Tesla's future strategy. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)
via Associated Press

Call it the biggest deleted tweet of all time: Elon Musk now wants to back out of his agreement to buy Twitter.

Musk said on Friday he was terminating his $44 billion offer for Twitter, citing “material breach of multiple provisions” of the agreement and alleging Twitter failed to respond to multiple requests for information on fake or spam accounts on the social media platform.

The Washington Post first reported in July that Musk’s team had stopped some discussions about funding for the deal, raising serious concerns about the data “fire hose” sent over from Twitter. Musk has been critical of Twitter and the prevalence of spam accounts on the social media site.

But Twitter’s share price has also plummeted since he first announced his takeover bid.

It’s unclear if Musk will be able to walk away over his concerns about spam accounts alone, and Musk could still be on the hook for $1 billion, even if he convinces a judge to let him back out of the deal.

Musk had until October 24 to close on the $44 billion deal or pay a $1 billion termination fee. With an estimated net worth well north of $200 billion, the entrepreneur should have no trouble absorbing the loss.

Musk had plenty of reasons to get cold feet, one of which was the incidental damage his ownership risked inflicting on his other businesses.

Owning and operating Twitter comes with unavoidable controversy, and the spillover to Tesla, whose stock fell roughly 20% soon after Musk forced the Twitter sale, presumably wasn’t worth the risk.

The deal would have also forced the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” into an uncomfortable confrontation with China, where, despite a ban, the social network remains a thorn in Beijing’s side.

China manufactures roughly half of Tesla’s cars and accounts for a quarter of the company’s revenue, giving it a high degree of leverage over any Musk-owned platform.

With the deal off the table, maybe the world’s richest man will get around to completing some of his other side projects.

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