Twitter has asked a Delaware court to force billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk to honour his $44bn agreement to buy the social media company.
In a complaint filed in Delaware chancery court on Tuesday, lawyers for Twitter said Musk should be compelled to complete the merger at the $54.20 per share price agreed when the deal was struck in late April.
“Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play, and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, Musk 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,” according to the complaint.
“This repudiation follows a long list of material contractual breaches by Musk that have cast a pall over Twitter and its business,” it added.
The move sets the stage for a messy legal battle between the Silicon Valley company and one of its most prolific and powerful users.
Musk announced plans to buy Twitter in early April, promising to boost its flailing business and introduce a “free speech” ethos.
However, he said on Friday that he intended to walk away from the deal, claiming Twitter had breached its merger agreement by failing to hand over sufficient information to help him assess the number of fake accounts and bots on its platform.
His team also disputed Twitter’s current estimate for the number of fake accounts, which stands at 5 per cent of users, accusing the company of making “materially misleading representations” in its public disclosures.
Musk also alleged Twitter had violated its obligation to “conduct its business in the ordinary course” by firing several senior employees after the deal was announced.
Some analysts have suggested Musk might be attempting to negotiate the deal at a lower price, given the rout in tech stocks, and that the parties could reach a settlement to avoid costly and protracted litigation.
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