After a lot of back and forth, billionaire Elon Musk has decided to buy Twitter after all.
The news comes a mere two weeks before their designated trial date.
On Tuesday, representatives sent a letter informing Twitter that they are back on track. The notice, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, reads: “We write to notify you that the Musk Parties intend to proceed to closing of the transaction contemplated by the April 25, 2022 Merger Agreement, on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth therein.”
Musk had started to back out of the deal when he uncovered that Twitter misled him about the amount of bots on its platform, claiming that it was less than 5% when in fact it was 20%.
The ensuing court battle got a lot of media attention, causing Twitter’s shares to fluctuate on an almost weekly basis, and sparking an interesting statement from Pieter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former security chief turned whistleblower, who confirmed Musk’s speculations regarding the company misleading federal regulators on the true status of its security against hackers and spam accounts.
Mr. Zatko, who was fired from Twitter in January 2022 for “ineffective leadership and poor performance” after raising concerns at the company in early 2021, went on to reveal that although half the company’s servers were running out-of-date and vulnerable software, the company still prioritized growth over reducing spam accounts, offering executives individual bonuses of as much as $10 million if they increased daily users.
In his ensuing testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mudge also revealed that Twitter’s internal system, which contained personal user information and other sensitive company information, faced as many as 3,000 failed login attempts each day.
He added that Twitter does not fully understand the scale of the data it collects, which “might be used with other data collection” by governments to target particular groups for charges such as dissidence and incitement, or ultimately be used for their harassment.
One day later, Jay Sullivan, Twitter’s GM of Consumer and Revenue, joined a number of executives from Meta, TikTok, and YouTube at a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee that was convened to explore social media’s impact on national security.
There, the companies refused to give clear answers to a number of questions, including the number of employees they have working full-time on trust and safety, and whether any of them focus on moderating non-English content.
Jay Sullivan, who said the company had 2,200 people working on trust and safety “across Twitter” without specifying if they did other kinds of work, reportedly denied Mudge’s claims that Twitter lied to the FTC, without adding more information.
The case was further complicated by the emergence of a string of texts between Musk and a number of key figures at Twitter, like founder Jack Dorsey, board chair Bret Taylor and current CEO Parag Agrawal, and other casual chats with investor Jason Calacanis and celebrity figure Joe Rogan.
The texts, which show Musk having cold feed about ‘managing anyone’ and taking over Twitter at times of economic uncertainty, were anonymously emailed to Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro on May 6, and yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick approved Twitter’s request to review them as part of the proceedings.
Musk, who had reportedly sold a number of Tesla shares to cut his losses in the event of an exit, now plans to move forward with the deal “provided that the Delaware Chancery Court enter an immediate stay of the action, Twitter vs. Musk, et al. and adjourn the trial and all other proceedings.”
Announcing the news, he tweeted: “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” a platform that he had previously announced in a Twitter thread to his followers as one that he planned to start in the event that the Twitter deal doesn’t go through.
Its name, he said, would be X.com, a domain of “great sentimental value” to him that he owned in 1999 and bought back in 2017.
Musk’s decision to buy Twitter had an expected effect on its shares, spiking them by more than 12% to rest just above $47 per share. The deal, however, will be closing at $54.20, according to an official statement from Twitter.
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