Twitter moves to sue Elon Musk for abandoning purchase agreement

Twitter deal unravels: Twitter’s stock took a dive Monday after news late Friday that Elon Musk was withdrawing his bid to purchase the social media network for $43.4 billion. The Tesla CEO said he was abandoning the deal due to the proliferation of spam, bots, and fake accounts bloating Twitter’s engagement data. 

  • Twitter assembled a legal team from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to file a lawsuit against Musk for withdrawing from the agreement to purchase the company, per Insider.
  • Twitter’s legal counsel will file a case in Delaware, the corporate home of more than half of US public companies and more than 60% of Fortune 500 firms. 
  • Efforts to terminate deals often last months and end in settlements.

Possible outcomes:

Musk wins: “Musk could issue a countersuit or could bring the bot issue into discovery. If the real number of bots is higher than the 5% that Twitter claims, it could severely damage the company's reputation and permanently damage its stock. It could also have ramifications for all other (social media) platforms,” said Baruch Labunski, founder at Rank Secure, a Canadian SEO and digital marketing agency specializing in social media.

Twitter wins: “It seems to me that Musk is on the hook here not just for the breakup fee of $1 billion, but the differential between the spot price of Twitter's stock and the $54.20 per share agreed on a buyout,” said Abe Kasbo, founder and CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, a PR and marketing communications firm. 

“Musk's net worth has taken a considerable hit in the last few months with a double-whammy of both Tesla's shares down big along with Bitcoin, in which Tesla is invested, so he's got both buyer's remorse and considerably fewer funds to play with,” Kasbo added. 

In context, Tes­la’s and Twit­ter’s shares have tum­bled around 27% and 34%, re­spec­tively, since the deal was an­nounced, per The Wall Street Journal.

A draw: Both parties could come to an agreement and push through with the sale, potentially at a lower price to reflect current market conditions. 

A white knight: There’s also a possibility for a white knight, or interested third party, to swoop in and make an offer for Twitter, but that’s unlikely to happen if legal proceedings are in progress. 

The big takeaway: As both parties head into court, Twitter faces the burden of an uncertain future with its value whittling away while it sheds headcount. The company, which recently laid off 30% of its talent acquisition team, may have to resort to more layoffs to keep afloat as it takes the world’s richest man to court.