‘Oh the irony’: Elon Musk laughs as Twitter sues over ‘wrongful’ attempt to pull out of $44bn acquisition deal

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Elon Musk planned to launch his own social network to rival Twitter

Twitter sued Elon Musk on Tuesday, arguing the tech billionaire is legally bound to carry out his $44bn acquisition of the social network, after the Tesla CEO said last week he wanted to walk away from the deal.

Twitter argued leaving the deal now is “invalid and wrongful” under the terms of an April contract, according to a letter sent to Mr Musk’s lawyers.

The company tore into Mr Musk in a legal complaint filed in Delaware Court, writing that the billionaire “apparently believes that he —unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law — is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away.”

Mr Musk, meanwhile, has claimed Twitter failed to give him crucial information he sought about the presence of fake accounts and spam bots on the platform, entitling him to back off the buyout plan.

“Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information,” Mr Musk’s attorney said in a letter last week to the Twitter board.

The entrepreneur has also said Twitter broke its agreement by firing a pair of top managers and laying off a large part of its talent-acquisition team.

The suit, filed in Chancery Court in Delaware, could mark the beginning of an extended legal battle between the social network and the entrepreneur. A clause in the purchase agreement for Twitter allows the company to sue Mr Musk to force the deal through if certain conditions are met.

The Independent has contacted Mr Musk’s attorneys for comment.

If the suit goes forward, both parties will engage in a detailed factual discovery process before proceeding to trial.

Before a verdict is reached in the case, the two parties could renegotiate their deal, settle the lawsuit, or walk away from the acquisition with Mr Musk paying a $1bn “breakup fee.” The Tesla and SpaceX founder could also countersue.

Twitter has asked for an expedited trial in September, ahead of the acquisition deal’s planned 24 October final closing date.

When contacted for comment on its next step, the company pointed to a statement from chairman Bret Taylor, who wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that “Twitter has filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery to hold Elon Musk accountable to his contractual obligations.”

The lawsuit is the latest flare-up in an occasionally rocky acquisition bid.

In April, Mr Musk responded to a Twitter post calling a top Twitter lawyer the company’s “top censorship advocate,” adding that it was “incredibly inappropriate” when the social network took steps in 2020 to limit the spread of news stories based on then-unconfirmed materials purportedly from the laptop of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son.

Since Mr Musk’s acquisition deal took shape, Twitter’s stock has fallen by more than a third, and top employees have reportedly been dismayed to the point of tears about what the company could look like going forward.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with new information.