In mid-April, the Tesla boss starts an attempt at a hostile takeover of Twitter. However, some observers doubted from the start that Elon Musk was serious. The thriller seems to have come to an end. However, the other side is now writing a sequel.
On April 4, Musk announced in a stock market document that he had bought 73.5 million Twitter shares for almost $2.9 billion. This corresponds to a share of 9.2 percent of the shares and makes the richest person in the world the largest Twitter shareholder. Twitter stock price is skyrocketing. The following day, Twitter boss Parag Agrawal announced that the founder of the electric car manufacturer Tesla was to join the board of directors of the online platform.
But less than a week later, on April 10, Agrawal announced that Musk had decided not to sit on the board. "I think this is the best," adds the Twitter boss.
Three days later, Musk suddenly launches a hostile takeover attempt: he wants to buy all of Twitter's shares at a price of $54.20 each and delist the online platform, according to an IPO document released on April 13. Twitter announces that it wants to defend itself against a takeover.
The big turning point came on April 25: Twitter and Musk announced an agreement to buy the online platform for $44 billion, and shareholders are now to receive $54.20 per share. Musk promises he wants to make Twitter "better than ever".
However, many observers suspect in which direction Twitter could develop. Critics fear that the controversial multi-billionaire could severely restrict the moderation of content, for example in the fight against hate messages and the spread of false information.
On May 10, Musk caused a stir by announcing that he wanted to reverse the ban on former US President Donald Trump from Twitter. "I would lift the ban," he says, referring to the suspension of Trump's user account after the Capitol storm on January 6, 2021.
On May 13, Musk surprisingly announced a temporary halt to the Twitter takeover. The deal will be put on hold pending details of how the network calculates the number of spam and fake accounts. Musk questions that these actually make up less than 5 percent of all accounts, as stated by Twitter. The stock crashes.
Musk assured the same day that he was still interested in Twitter. However, experts doubt it. Social media consultant Thomas Knüwer, for example, says ntv that Musk is "obviously looking for an excuse to get out of the deal". Observers had previously had doubts that Musk could raise the $44 billion. In addition, like the entire tech industry, Twitter is weakening and has a reputation for poor management.
Officially, Musk is still determined to buy the platform even in mid-June. In a question and answer session with Twitter employees, he announced the goal of increasing the number of users to "at least" one billion.
However, on July 8, Musk dropped the deal. In a letter released by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, his lawyers accuse Twitter of violating the acquisition agreement sealed in April and making "false and misleading" statements. The core of the dispute is still the question of spam and fake accounts.
Twitter CEO Bret Taylor counters: He announces that he wants to force Musk to take over Twitter in court. The company intends to "complete the transaction at the price and on the terms agreed with Mr. Musk."
The legal aftermath could be lengthy and expensive. Whether Musk can be forced to take over Twitter remains to be seen. However, Twitter should at least try to obtain from Musk the contractual penalty of up to one billion dollars provided for in the event of a breach of the agreement.