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Elon Musk starts tweeting memes about being legally forced to buy Twitter

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Elon Musk’s bid to buy the platform appeared to be on the brink of collapse (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
Elon Musk’s bid to buy the platform appeared to be on the brink of collapse (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Elon Musk has tweeted a meme of himself after putting his own purchase of Twitter in the lurch.

The multibillionaire claimed that Twitter will have to “disclose bot info in court” after he announced that he was cancelling his attempt to purchase the social media company.

Mr Musk and Twitter have been debating the number of bots on the platform for some time. Mr Musk referenced the number of spam accounts in his initial press release about buying the company.

Since then, he has alleged that Twitter’s numbers about bots are false. When chief executive Parag Agrawal detailed how Twitter estimates fake accounts in a lengthy thread, Mr Musk responded with the poop emoji.

The future of Mr Musk’s attempt to back out of the deal is unclear. But Twitter has indicated that it is ready to fight to push it through.

“The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement,” tweeted Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chairman. “We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.”

If the buyout goes to court, Mr Musk could be forced to pay considerable costs.

In the contract signed between Twitter and Mr Musk there was a $1bn forfeit fee. But as professor Scott Galloway on Pivot has said, “if I sign an airtight contract for me to buy your car, and you show up with the car, and I don’t show up with the money, and [you can] only get $10,000 for the car and I agree to buy it for $25,000, I owe you $15,000”.

Mr Musk, according to reports last week, had stopped “engaging in certain discussions” around the deal, and was no longer in communication with a key investor in the deal.

Mr Galloway said that Mr Musk is now “on the hook” for the difference between the market cap of the company, the shares he already owns, and what he agreed to pay for the company. This could be “one of the most watched legal cases”, he added: “it’s headed to court”.

Mr Musk also has made “increasingly baroque requests” to Twitter with regards to its bot data, according to Bloomberg analyst Matt Levine. Mr Musk had previously claimed the company was attempting to ‘resist and thwart’ his information rights, and in response, Twitter gave him access to real-time data, including API information. “It is hard to imagine a judge sympathizing with Musk here”, Mr Levine writes.

Mr Musk has, in the past, made outlandish and costly claims about his businesses - infamously saying he would take Tesla private at $420 a share, tweeting that the “funding [was] secured”. That tweet had no basis in fact and Mr Musk and Tesla were fined $20m each.

Within Twitter, Mr Musk’s tactic of playing fast and loose with his corporate enterprises has had significent impact. Twitter fired 30 per cent of its recruitment team in a move that shocked employees - withThe Independent understanding that Twitter revoked the employees’ access to online resources while in their redundancy meeting.

Previously, Kayvon Beykpour and Bruce Falck, the company’s former head of Consumer Product and head of Revenue, respectively, were fired in May. In a meeting with Twitter employees, Mr Musk alluded to job cuts saying that the company’s “costs exceed the revenue”.

Mr Musk’s lawyers, however, are attempting to use this as a reason for the billionaire to escape the deal. “Twitter’s conduct in firing two key, high-ranking employees ... implicates the ordinary course provision”, they write, but Mr Levine says a court sympathising with Mr Musk over that is “unlikely”.

Within Twitter, morale is low, with employees believing that Mr Musk has lowered the company’s share price and influenced redundancies, The Independent understands. Employees report being distraught after they were rapidly fired - and those sackings have caused friction between the employees that remain.

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