Twitter has responded to Elon Musk’s announcement on Friday that he wants to pull out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company. The social media company isn’t pulling punches, flatly asserting that the billionaire Tesla CEO is bound by the agreement he signed and that he is knowingly trying to breach that agreement by giving a bunch of nonsense excuses.
The SEC filing was submitted to the regulatory agency on Sunday and only made public late Monday. And it’s in that filing where Twitter says Musk’s attempt to go back on the deal over claims that the service has too many bots is “invalid.”
“Mr. Musk’s and the other Musk Parties’ purported termination is invalid and wrongful, and it constitutes a repudiation of their obligations under the Agreement,” the letter from Twitter states.
“Contrary to the assertions in your letter, Twitter has breached none of its obligations under the Agreement, and Twitter has not suffered and is not likely to suffer a Company Material Adverse Effect. The purported termination is invalid for the independent reason that Mr. Musk and the other Musk Parties have knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and materially breached the Agreement,” the letter continues.
“As it has done, Twitter will continue to provide information reasonably requested by Mr. Musk under the Agreement and to diligently take all measures required to close the transaction.”
Musk has insisted he’s concerned about the number of bots on the platform, something he initially said he’d like to help fix as a reason to buy Twitter. But plenty of commentators were skeptical from the start that Musk even wanted to buy the company, instead pointing at ulterior motives. One such motive was offloading a ton of shares in Tesla to buy the company—shares he sold when the electric vehicle company’s stock price was near an all-time high.
The 51-year-old SpaceX founder started this bizarre adventure by buying up a large chunk of Twitter stock and not disclosing the transaction within the legal time-frame for doing so. Musk secretly nabbed 9.2% of the company back in April, becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder, but the billionaire was legally required to publicly disclose after he’d purchased 5% of the company, something he didn’t do and profited nicely from. Then Musk tried a hostile takeover of Twitter, threatening to sell his huge stake if he wasn’t allowed to buy the company outright at a huge markup.
Twitter is expected to file a lawsuit to force Musk’s hand sometime this week, according to Reuters, though it’s not clear if Musk will get away with merely a slap on the wrist or be forced to make a big payout.
Musk has been taunting Twitter over the past few days with memes, trying to pretend that he’s not in serious legal jeopardy given the stunt he’s currently pulling.
But maybe he really doesn’t have any cause to worry. He is the wealthiest person on the planet, after all. And the wealthy have a way of not facing consequences for literally anything. Only time will tell if Musk is the first rich guy to ever pay a huge price for shady activity. We’re not holding our breath.