Elon Musk has shifted course once again and offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, potentially concluding a back-and-forth legal fight over primary ownership of the social media company.
The billionaire tech entrepreneur agreed to definitively close his buy-out deal with Twitter Inc. per the terms of the original $44 billion agreement or $54.20 a share, according to a letter filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The letter was confirmed by Twitter, which said it intended to finalize the transaction at the agreed-upon price. However, the social media platform did not mention whether it would drop its lawsuit against Tesla’s CEO and SpaceX founder.
“I don’t think Twitter will give up its trial date on just Musk’s word — it’s going to need more certainty about closing,” said Andrew Jennings, professor at Brooklyn Law School.
Jennings noted that the company may also be worried about Musk’s proposal being a delay tactic. After all, he’s already unsuccessfully tried to postpone the trial twice.
The contentious on-again-off-again fight with Twitter began in April when Musk publicly lamented the San Francisco-based company’s alleged failure to remove “spam bots” and live up to its potential as a platform for free speech.
The skirmish between Musk and Twitter drew to an end Tuesday, fewer than two weeks before a trial between the disputed parties was set to begin on October 17. In the letter filed with the SEC, Musk offered to finalize the agreement provided that the Delaware Chancery Court end Twitter’s lawsuit against him and adjourn the trial.
In a matter of days, Musk could officially be in charge of Twitter, said Ann Lipton, an associate law professor at Tulane University. Still, some legal and logistical hurdles must be settled before the deal goes through, which depends on how quickly he and his co-investors can line up the money, she said.
Trading on the social media company’s stock (NYSE: TWTR) was halted pending news that Musk would buy Twitter for the originally agreed-upon price. Once trading resumed, Twitter’s price climbed 22% throughout the day and closed at precisely $52, only 4.05% short of Musk’s offered price.
It is not surprising that Musk would reverse course ahead of his scheduled deposition by Twitter attorneys, claimed Eric Talley, a law professor at Columbia University. According to Talley, the deposition was “not going to be pleasant.”
“On the legal merits, his case didn’t look that strong,” Talley claimed. “It kind of seemed like a pretty simple buyer’s remorse case.”
Attorneys for Musk gave no response to the buy-out news Tuesday.
Musk himself, however, threw Twitter into a frenzy of speculation when he indicated another possible reason for the seeming capitulation by tweeting, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”
The wealthy inventor and businessman has explained in the past that X will enable users to access multiple online services and utilities with a centralized program on their electronic devices.