Elon Musk agrees to $44B acquisition of Twitter in hopes of averting trial
Elon Musk agreed to pay $44 billion to buy Twitter if a lawsuit brought by the company in an attempt to force him to follow through with the deal is closed, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uploaded Tuesday.
Attorneys representing Musk sent a letter to Twitter Monday stating that they intend to proceed with the closing of the deal the parties agreed to in April, provided that the court enters an immediate stay in the case.
The offer on Tuesday to follow through on the deal Musk reached with the company comes roughly two weeks before the Tesla CEO was set to face Twitter in a trial over the deal.
News of Musk’s intent to move forward with the deal at the original offer of $54.20 per share was first reported by Bloomberg News. After the report, trading of Twitter shares halted.
A Twitter spokesperson said the company intends to close the deal with Musk.
“We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC. The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The Hill reached out to an attorney for Musk for comment.
Musk was trying to back out of the deal over allegations that Twitter was breaching its side by not providing him with information about the number of spam bot accounts on the platform. He tried to boost his case based on allegations raised by a Twitter whistleblower that in part cast doubt over how the company counts bot accounts online.
Twitter denied Musk’s allegations, and was suing to try to hold the billionaire accountable to follow through with the deal to buy the company.
Reports that Musk intends to go through with his plan to buy the social media company triggered backlash from advocacy groups arguing that it will open the platform up to even more hate speech and misinformation online.
Musk has said he wants to embrace a “free speech” approach, meaning he would lean less heavily on content moderation measures.
He’s also signaled that Twitter should let former President Trump back on the platform, which would reverse the permanent ban it instated on Trump’s account after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.
Angelo Carusone, president of watchdog group Media Matters, said that under, Musk Twitter will “become a supercharged engine of radicalization if he follows through with even a fraction of what he has promised.”
“In effect, Musk will turn Twitter into a fever swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories, partisan chicanery, and operationalized harassment,” Carusone said in a statement.
Bridget Todd, communications director of the women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, said threats of violence against women of color will “skyrocket.”
“Get ready. Elon Musk is about to rip open Pandora’s box and flood the internet once again with hate, misogyny, racism and conspiracy theories,” Todd said in a statement.
Zach Schonfeld contributed.
Updated at 3:59 p.m.