After yet another turnaround, where is the saga between Elon Musk and Twitter going?

After yet another turnaround, where does the saga between Elon Musk and Twitter?

MISE À DAY

Elon Musk, after several months of a turbulent saga, made yet another turnaround by offering to buy Twitter again on Tuesday. The two parties are now negotiating the next steps, but the mystery remains on many points.

 • Read also: Elon Musk presents the ambitious humanoid robot from Tesla

What's going on?

Elon Musk, who had offered in the spring to buy the platform at $54.20 a share before abandoning it in July, sent a letter to Twitter indicating that he was again ready to buy the platform at the price originally agreed. On two conditions: that the current procedure initiated by the social network for the entrepreneur to keep his word be suspended, and that he receive the necessary funding.

Twitter took note and indicated that he always “l 'intention' to complete the transaction. 

According to the New York Times, the business court judge overseeing the proceedings summoned the parties for a confidential meeting on Tuesday and asked them to work things out before returning to her. 

If they reach a agreement, this would cancel the trial, which was supposed to start on October 17 in the state of Delaware.

Already scalded by the attacks and volte-face of Elon Musk, Twitter will undoubtedly want solid assurances before abandoning the procedure, such as the deposit of a huge sum of money in guarantee, advances Adam Badawi, professor of law of business at the University of Berkeley.

There is also talk of the group asking that the finalization of the agreement be supervised by a judge.

The lawyers Twitter had not immediately responded to requests from AFP.

Why this reversal?

Elon Musk is used to controversy, broken promises, and lawsuits. But even for the whimsical multibillionaire, the sums at stake remain substantial. 

Determining the motivations of his latest decision remains speculative for the moment. 

< p>Several lawyers believe that he simply realized that he was probably not going to win the case, because he failed to sufficiently demonstrate his main argument to justify the cancellation of the agreement: the presence of automated accounts on Twitter much more important than recognized by the platform.

For Carl Tobias, professor of law at the University of Richmond, it is also possible that Elon Musk may have been embarrassed by the dissemination, within the framework of the procedure, of messages exchanged with other personalities from the business world. and wished to avoid the publication of other messages.

The fact that he did not carry out a due diligence on the state of the company before his initial offer, as is usually the case in this type of agreement, also comes back to haunt him, says Mr. Tobias.

“I think, on both sides, the situation has become embarrassing, revealing and not very constructive,” he believes. 

How is Twitter doing?

Twitter's stock jumped 22% on Tuesday after Elon Musk's new offer was revealed. 

But the company doesn't not in top form.

It is suffering, like other tech giants, from falling advertising spending amid the economic slowdown, and its image has been damaged by the turbulence linked to the uncertainty around the potential takeover by Elon Musk. The group thus saw its turnover fall by 1% in the second quarter, while employee morale is not in good shape.

Recent accusations by its former security chief, Peiter Zatko, who was fired in January, have further shaken the reputation of the social network. The whistleblower blames management for not taking serious security flaws seriously enough.

“It's kind of ironic that for Musk, the easiest part of this deal was to buy Twitter,” said Dan Ives, analyst for Wedbush Securities. “The hardest part will be dealing with issues around monetization and subscriber engagement.

What would Twitter look like under Elon Musk?

The likelihood of a deal being struck has rekindled serious concerns about a possible upsurge in abuse and misinformation on the platform.

Elon Musk presents himself as a staunch defender of freedom of expression and has already warned that he plans to let Internet users express themselves as they wish, as long as they do not break the law. 

In May, he also said he was ready to lift the permanent suspension of ex-President Donald Trump's account on Twitter, decided after the attack on the Capitol in January 2021.