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A volatile bond ends up in court

Elon Musk’s search for Twitter was a melodrama from the start: a volatile courtship between a mercurial billionaire and an influential social media platform.

This relationship, a love-hate affair on both sides, is now ripe for an acrimonious court battle.

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It all started with an expensive first date: Musk, a Twitter user known for his inflammatory tweets, bought 73.5 million shares at a cost of nearly $2.9 billion.

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The purchase, which was revealed in a regulatory filing on April 4 and gave him a 9.2% stake in the company, sent Twitter shares skyrocketing and sparked speculation that Musk was looking to gamble. an active role in the operations of the company. social media company.

It also earned him a seat on the board. CEO Parag Agrawal announced the offer — in a tweet, of course — calling Musk “a passionate believer and intense critic of the service, which is exactly what we need.”

But the initial euphoria didn’t last: Agrawal said on April 10 that Musk had decided not to join the board, a move the Twitter CEO deemed “for the best.”

Instead of amicably parting ways, Musk launched a hostile takeover bid for the company, offering $54.20 per share, according to an April 13 filing.

After saying it would “carefully consider” the offer, Twitter adopted a “poison pill” defense and announced a plan that would allow shareholders to purchase additional shares.

The Compromise Then came the plan to walk down the corporate aisle: Twitter reversed course, saying on April 25 that it would sell Musk in a deal valued at $44 billion.

Musk took steps to cover the cost, selling $8.4 billion worth of shares in electric car maker Tesla. He has pledged up to $21 billion of his personal fortune, with the rest financed by debt.

Musk was already planning his new life with Twitter, saying days later that he would lift the ban on Donald Trump, which was enacted after the January 2021 riots in the US Capitol by supporters of the then president.

But he soon began to show signs of suspicion, saying on May 13 that the deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold” pending details about spam and fake accounts on the platform.

In early June, advocacy groups decided to speak now rather than be silent forever, launching a campaign to stop Musk from making the purchase, which they said would allow him to “give a megaphone to demagogues and extremists”.

Meanwhile, Musk accused Twitter of failing to provide data on fake accounts and threatened to withdraw its offer.

On June 16, however, he offered signs that the party was still on, presenting Twitter staff with a vision of a billion-user platform. But he was unclear on issues such as possible layoffs and limits on free speech.

It all came crashing down on July 8, when Musk canceled the deal and accused Twitter of making “misleading” claims about the number of fake accounts.

The split between the billionaire and the social media platform is far from friendly.

Twitter’s president tweeted that the company would take legal action to enforce the deal, setting up a costly showdown.

The first hearing in the trial is scheduled for Tuesday in Delaware State Chancery Court.

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