Speculation about the proposed purchase of Twitter by billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk has been rampant in recent weeks.
Musk has made repeated public comments complaining about the company’s refusal to provide data on the percentage of spam accounts, leading to concerns about the deal’s completion:
Today those concerns seemingly came true, as Musk sent a letter to Twitter expressing his intent to withdraw from the purchase.
The full letter explains his reasoning, but the highlight is that he claims the social media behemoth is in “material breach of multiple provisions” of the purchase agreement, as well as “false and misleading representations” by Twitter:
“Mr. Musk is terminating the Merger Agreement because Twitter is in material breach of multiple provisions of that Agreement, appears to have made false and misleading representations upon which Mr. Musk relied when entering into the Merger Agreement, and is likely to suffer a Company Material Adverse Effect.”
The letter confirms that Musk has asked for expanded details about spam and bot accounts, and claims that “Twitter has still failed to provide much of the data and information responsive to Mr. Musk’s repeated requests.”
For Twitter’s part, the company’s board announced on Friday that they intend to sue Musk to ensure the deal goes through as per the original agreement.
While this might seem like a fatal blow, Musk could simply be attempting to negotiate a better price for the company. $44 billion was always seen as a potential overpay, and with the recent collapse in share price, he could be trying to recoup some of the potential loss in value.
Whether or not the deal does officially go through remains to be seen, but Musk taking over the internet’s “town square” would be a significant win for free speech on the internet.
For now though, his deal to buy Twitter appears to be off.