Twitter has sued Elon Musk to compel him to buy the social media company for $44 billion – a deal the world’s richest person said last week he was calling off.
The lawsuit was filed in Delaware's Court of Chancery on Tuesday. It sets Twitter and Musk up for a lengthy, expensive and high-stakes battle in which a once-reluctant seller will try to force the hand of a now unwilling buyer.
Musk struck an agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share in late April. He vowed to make the platform a bastion of unfettered free speech and clean up the long-running issue of spam and automated bots.
But since then, the mercurial billionaire has launched a fight with the company over the prevalence of fake accounts, which he claims, without offering evidence, is higher than Twitter lets on. He's also aimed a near-constant stream of criticism at the company, including targeting executives and complaining about its content moderation decisions and features.
Over the same period, stock markets have fallen, making the price Musk agreed to pay for Twitter look more expensive even as Tesla shares, his main source of wealth, have dropped.
On Friday, Musk notified Twitter he was terminating the deal. He accused the company of misrepresenting the percentage of fake accounts and of failing to provide him with information to verify its estimates. These, he said, were grounds for abandoning the purchase.
Twitter says it's Musk who has violated the deal, and that he's still bound by the legal paperwork he signed back in April. That paperwork gives Twitter the right to take him to court to make him stick to his word.
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