Billionaire Elon Musk is once again ready to buy social media platform Twitter on the eve of a court battle with the company after he tried to back out of his $68 billion (US$44 billion) purchase.
In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week, Musk’s lawyers said the deal was back on the table – so long as the acquisition can be financed.
Musk tried to squirm out of the deal claiming Twitter had “made false and misleading representations” about how many bots were on the platform.
Twitter quickly began legal proceedings to compel Musk to carry on with the agreed-to deal.
The court case was due to begin this month, despite Musk’s attempts to delay it until early next year, but the billionaire’s return to the table ought to resolve the dispute.
In a statement this week Twitter said that its “intention is to close the transaction at [US]$54.20 per share” (Musk deliberately made his original offer include the ‘weed number’ 420).
News of the deal getting back on track caused Twitter’s share price to feel a 22 per cent bump during US trading hours on Tuesday and move up to US$52.
On Wednesday morning, hours after news of the backflip broke, Musk tweeted that “buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app”.
Musk hasn’t described what he means by ‘X’ but he has said on Twitter that the acquisition of Twitter will “accelerate X by 3 to 5 years” and that it will fulfil “the original X.com vision”.
X.com was a neobank Musk co-founded that was merged into PayPal at the turn of the century.
Twitter issued this statement about today's news: 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.— Twitter Investor Relations (@TwitterIR) October 4, 2022
During town hall meetings with Twitter staff in the early phases of the acquisition, Musk signalled his desire to build a ‘super app’ like China’s ubiquitous WeChat which rolls up messaging, social media, and payments into one service.
“There’s no WeChat equivalent [outside] of China,” he told Twitter staff back in June, as quoted in Forbes. “There’s a real opportunity to create that.”
X also refers to the three ‘X Holdings’ companies Musk registered during the initial phase of the Twitter acquisition.
Back in December 2020, Musk tweeted “good idea” in response to a YouTuber who suggested he create “a holding company called X” which would become the parent of Musk’s other businesses, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and the Boring Company.
At the same time he was expanding on his plans for a multi-billion dollar business decision via a tweet, Musk was sharing his controversial opinions about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Musk polled his 107 million followers about whether the United Nations should conduct official elections in recently annexed regions of Ukraine in order to decide if the Russians should just be allowed to stay in occupied territory.
When chess world champion and Human Rights Foundation Chairman Garry Kasparov called Musk's comments “moral idiocy” that spouted “Kremlin propaganda”, Musk said he his company had spent US$80 million providing internet services for Ukrainians via Starlink.
Kasparov said he praised Musk for that but countered by saying one good deed does not "purchase immunity for later bad ones”.
“I always admired you for pushing exploration and taking risks in a way that had been lost for a generation,” Kasparov wrote.
“But great achievements demand higher standards for future actions, not lower.”