Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Elon Musk says he is terminating Twitter buyout deal

Elon Musk (Brian LAwless/PA)
Elon Musk (Brian LAwless/PA)

Elon Musk’s 44 billion dollars (£36.5 billion) bid to buy Twitter is on the verge of collapse — after the Tesla CEO sent a letter to the social media company’s board saying he is terminating the acquisition.

The chair of Twitter’s board, Bret Taylor, tweeted on Friday that the 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. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery”.

Twitter could have pushed for a one billion dollars break-up fee Mr Musk agreed to pay under these circumstances. Instead, it looks ready to fight over the deal, which the company’s board has approved and CEO Parag Agrawal has insisted he wants to consummate.

The possible unravelling of the deal is just the latest twist in a saga between the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms.

Much of the drama has played out on Twitter, with Mr Musk — who has more than 95 million followers — lamenting that the company was failing to live up to its potential as a platform for free speech.

Twitter Spam
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

On Friday, shares of Twitter fell 5% to 36.81 dollars, well below the 54.20 dollars that Mr Musk had offered to pay. Shares of Tesla, meanwhile, climbed 2.5% to 752.29 dollars.

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Musk said Twitter has “not complied with its contractual obligations” surrounding the deal, namely giving him enough information to “make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform”.

Mr Musk’s flirtation with buying Twitter appeared to begin in late March. That is when Twitter has said he contacted members of its board — including co-founder Jack Dorsey — and told them he was buying up shares of the company and interested in either joining the board, taking Twitter private or starting a competitor.

Then, on April 4, he revealed in a regulatory filing that he had became the company’s largest shareholder after acquiring a 9% stake worth about three billion dollars.

At first, Twitter offered Mr Musk a seat on its board. But six days later, Mr Agrawal tweeted that Mr Musk will not be joining the board after all. His bid to buy the company came together quickly after that.

Mr Musk had agreed to buy Twitter for 54.20 dollars per share, inserting a “420” marijuana reference into his offer price. He sold roughly 8.5 billion dollars worth of shares in Tesla to help fund the purchase, then strengthened his commitments of more than seven billion dollars from a diverse group of investors including Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

Inside Twitter, Mr Musk’s offer was met with confusion and falling morale, especially after he publicly criticised one of Twitter’s top lawyers involved in content-moderation decisions.

As Twitter executives prepared for the deal to move forward, the company instituted a hiring freeze, halted discretionary spending and fired two top managers.

The San Francisco company has also been laying off staff, most recently part of its talent acquisition team.