The legal battle has begun between Twitter and Elon Musk
The social network, Twitter, went to court on Tuesday 12 July to force Elon Musk to buy the social network according to the terms agreed with the Tesla boss at the end of April, which valued the Californian group at 44 billion USD.
It will be the decision of a judge of a court specializing in business law, in the state of Delaware (eastern United States), which will therefore have to determine whether the multi-billionaire can, or not, terminate, without charge, the acquisition agreement.
This contract provides for a termination fee of one billion USD, which Elon Musk does not seem to want to settle, as it is. “Elon Musk’s exit strategy is a model of hypocrisy” and a “model of bad faith”, said the platform’s lawyers, who seem determined to fight it out.
“After putting on a show to make Twitter a target, and after proposing and signing a merger agreement, Musk seems to believe that he is free – unlike any party bound by contract under Delaware law – to change his mind, defame the company, disrupt its operations, destroy its stock value, and wash his hands of it,” they begin in a court filing.
The controversial businessman became a shareholder of Twitter earlier this year, before announcing his intention to buy the platform, which he considers too “censored”, in the interest of democracy.
To explain his unilateral decision, Friday, to end the agreement, his lawyers assured that Twitter had not provided all the information requested on inauthentic accounts active on the network and minimized the number of spam. But for the bluebird, “Musk’s behaviour simply confirms that he wanted to get out of a contract he freely signed, and harm Twitter at the same time.” “Oh the irony, lol,” Elon Musk reacted on Twitter Tuesday, July 12.
Earlier this week, he posted an image with four photos of himself, hilarious, with this caption: “They said I couldn’t buy Twitter. Then they refused to reveal the information about the fake accounts. Now they want to force me to buy Twitter in court. Now they are forced to reveal information about fake accounts.” For several months, the richest man in the world has been multiplying attacks and mockery against the network, where he is followed by more than 100 million people.
Elon Musk has openly criticized its content moderation policy, and publicly mocked some executives. At the peak of the argument about the number of inauthentic accounts, he opposed a poop emoji to the arguments of Parag Agrawal, the boss of Twitter.
“He claimed, that he was suspending the deal pending satisfaction of imaginary conditions, failed to find funding (…) violated his duty of confidentiality (and) used confidential information for the wrong purpose,” Twitter’s lawyer’s list. Mr. Musk “failed to employ the means necessary to complete the acquisition,” they add. “Twitter has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm as a result of these violations.”
On Friday, the platform’s chairman of the board (COB), Bret Taylor, warned that the COB was “committed to closing the transaction at the agreed price and terms” and intended to prevail in court.
“There is a range of possible outcomes: a negotiated settlement between the parties to avoid trial, payment of the breakup fee, enforcement of the contract and a myriad of other possibilities,” noted analyst Dan Ives on Tuesday, July 12.
Several business law experts agree that Twitter has the advantage in terms of legal arguments, but believe the social network will suffer permanently from the case, regardless of the outcome. “Musk has a black eye and Twitter (and its employees) are living a horror movie,” commented Dan Ives. “It’s a soap opera with no winner.”