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Old 26-04-22, 09:32   #1
 
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Popcorn Musk to Hold First Meeting With Twitter Staff

Elon Musk Strikes Deal to Buy Twitter For $44bn (£34.5bn)

The board of Twitter has agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from the billionaire Elon Musk.


BBC News 26 APR 2022
.






Mr Musk, who made the shock bid less than two weeks ago, said Twitter had "tremendous potential" that he would unlock.


He also called for a series of changes from relaxing its content restrictions to eradicating fake accounts.

The firm initially rebuffed Mr Musk's bid, but it will now ask shareholders to vote to approve the deal.

Mr Musk is the world's richest person, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of $273.6bn mostly due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla which he runs. He also leads the aerospace firm SpaceX.

"Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," Mr Musk said in a statement announcing the deal.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans," he added.

"Twitter has tremendous potential - I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."

The move comes as Twitter faces growing pressure from politicians and regulators over the content that appears on its platform. It has drawn critics from left and right over its efforts to mediate misinformation on the platform.

In one of its most high-profile moves, last year it banned former US President Donald Trump, perhaps its most powerful user, citing the risk of "incitement of violence".

At the time Mr Musk observed: "A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech."

Will Trump return to Twitter after Musk takeover?


News of the takeover has been cheered by the right in the US, although Trump on Monday told Fox News he had no plans to re-join the platform.



The White House declined to comment on the takeover but spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters: "No matter who owns or runs Twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms."

On Twitter, MP Julian Knight, chairman of the UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, called the deal an "extraordinary development in the world of social media".

"It will be interesting to see how a privately owned Twitter (run by a man who is an absolutist over free speech) will react to global moves to regulate."


Controversial History


Mr Musk, who has more than 80 million followers on Twitter, has a controversial history on the platform himself.

In 2018 US financial regulators accused him of misleading Tesla investors with his tweets, claims that were resolved in a $40 million settlement and that Mr Musk continues to deny.

And in 2019 he was hit with a defamation suit - which he successfully defeated - after calling a diver involved in rescuing schoolboys in Thailand "pedo guy" on the platform.

On Monday, Mr Musk, who has been known to clash with journalists and block critics, suggested that he saw Twitter as a forum for debate.

"I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means," he wrote just hours before the deal was announced.


Can Musk Turn Twitter Around?


As part of the takeover, which is expected to close later this year, Twitter's shares will be delisted and it will be taken private.

Mr Musk has suggested this will give him freedom to make the changes he wants to the business.

Among other ideas, he has suggested allowing longer posts and introducing the ability to edit them after they have been published.

Twitter shares on Monday closed more than 5% higher after the deal was announced.

But the price remained lower than Mr Musk's $54.20 per share offer, a sign that Wall Street believes he is overpaying for the firm.

Mr Musk has said he doesn't "care about the economics" of the purchase. However, he will take on a company with a chequered record of financial performance.

Despite its influence, Twitter has rarely turned a profit and user growth, particularly in the US, has slowed.

The company, founded in 2004, ended 2021 with $5bn in revenue and 217 million daily users globally - a fraction of the figures claimed by other platforms such as Facebook.

Bret Taylor, chair of Twitter's board, said it had fully assessed Mr Musk's offer and it was "the best path forward for Twitter's stockholders".






Parag Agrawal succeeded Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in November


It is not clear who will lead the company moving forward. Twitter is currently led by Parag Agrawal, who took over from co-founder and former boss Jack Dorsey last November.

But in his offer document, Mr Musk told Twitter's board: "I don't have confidence in management."

Mr Agrawal told employees on Monday that the future of Twitter is uncertain.

"Once the deal closes, we don't know which direction the platform will go," he said, according to the Reuters news agency.


Shareholder Vote


Mr Musk's targeting of Twitter has moved at remarkable speed. It emerged at the beginning of April that he had become the largest shareholder in the firm with a 9.2% stake.

He was then invited to join Twitter's board but turned down the offer before launching a surprise bid for the company on 14 April, saying he wanted to "unlock" its potential as a bastion of freedom of speech.

Twitter tried to fend off his bid, threatening to dilute the shareholdings of anyone who bought more than a 15% stake in the firm. However, its stance shifted after Mr Musk revealed more financial details about his proposed bid.

He has secured $25.5bn of financing for the deal and will take a $21bn stake in the business.

The board unanimously approved the bid, which will now be presented to shareholders for a vote.
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Old 27-04-22, 07:23   #2
 
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Movies re: Musk to Hold First Meeting With Twitter Staff

Amazon Founder Bezos Claims China Has Leverage Over Musk Following Twitter Takeover

27 Apr 2022 Asia Radar




AMAZON'S founder Jeff Bezos took a shot at Elon Musk, claiming that his recent takeover of Twitter could put the social network under China's influence.

Yesterday, SpaceX CEO and the world’s richest man Elon Musk reached a deal with Twitter to buy the social media platform in a $44 billion deal (£34.8 billion). Following a dramatic two-week long takeover attempt,




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Old 27-05-22, 14:05   #3
 
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Update re: Musk to Hold First Meeting With Twitter Staff

Twitter Investors Sue Elon Musk and Platform Over Takeover Bid

Twitter investors are suing Elon Musk and the social media platform over the handling of the billionaire's $44bn (£34.9bn) bid for the company.

BBC 27 MAY 2022







The case alleges he violated California corporate laws in a number of ways.




It accuses the Tesla boss of "wrongful conduct" as his "false statements and market manipulation have created 'chaos' at Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco".

Twitter shares are around 27% lower than Mr Musk's $54.20 offer price.

The lawsuit also claimed Mr Musk benefitted financially by delaying the disclosure of his significant stake in Twitter, and his plan to become a board member of the company.

It also claimed that several tweets posted by Mr Musk, who is a regular Twitter user with more than 95m followers, were "misleading".

It included a post in which Mr Musk said his takeover bid for the social media firm was on hold because of his doubts over the number of fake accounts on the platform.

The tweet on 13 May "constituted an effort to manipulate the market for Twitter shares as he knew about the fake accounts," the lawsuit said.

It also said Mr Musk "doubled down" on his allegations four days later, by stating on Twitter that the deal "cannot go forward".

On Friday, Frank Bottini, who is one of the lawyers representing the Twitter investors, told the BBC that the lawsuit was filed as Mr Musk "continues to disparage the company he wants to buy for $44bn in an effort to renegotiate the purchase price".

"The complaint we filed in San Francisco seeks to hold Musk liable for his unlawful conduct," Mr Bottini said.

Analysts have speculated that Mr Musk may be looking for ways to lower his takeover offer or walk away from the deal.

He has tweeted several times that he was concerned about the number of fake accounts, or bots, on Twitter.

A bot is a software programme that sends out automated posts and is often associated with misinformation on social media platforms.

Mr Musk has also hinted that he may seek to pay less for Twitter than the $44bn agreed with the company's board in March.

Speaking at a technology conference earlier this month, he said striking a deal at a lower price was "not out of the question".

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed this week at the US District Court for the Northern District of California by investor William Heresniak, who said he was acting "on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated".

A class-action is a lawsuit that has been filed or is defended by an individual acting on behalf of a group of people.

Mr Musk's lawyers and Tesla did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment on Friday.

Twitter declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

Earlier this month, Twitter confirmed that two of its bosses who had been leading its consumer and revenue operations were leaving the company.

The firm has also paused most hiring except for "business critical roles".
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Old 07-06-22, 07:11   #4
 
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Update re: Musk to Hold First Meeting With Twitter Staff

Elon Musk Threatens to Scrap $44bn Twitter Deal Over ‘Material Breach’

Company accused of refusing to provide sufficient information about number of false users


The Guardian UK 7 JUN 2022


Elon Musk has accused Twitter of committing a “material breach” of his $44bn (£35bn) agreement to buy the company and has threatened to terminate the deal, in the clearest indication yet that the world’s richest man is preparing to walk away from the takeover.



Musk’s lawyers have written to Twitter accusing it of refusing to provide sufficient information about the number of false users on the service, as part of a simmering dispute over the number of spam and fake accounts that populate the platform.

In a letter to Twitter’s chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, lawyers representing the Tesla CEO said he believed the company was “actively resisting and thwarting” his rights to access data and information from the company under the agreement. The letter said Twitter had failed to provide the information requested by Musk since 9 May, adding that a formal response from the social media platform on 1 June was insufficient.

“Twitter’s latest offer to simply provide additional details regarding the company’s own testing methodologies, whether through written materials or verbal explanations, is tantamount to refusing Mr Musk’s data requests,” said the letter from US law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Musk’s legal team is arguing that failure to provide information about false accounts breaches a covenant in the agreement, a promise to act in a certain way during the sale process, which would allow him to walk away from the deal.

It said Twitter’s methods for testing fake accounts were “lax” and that Musk needed data from the company to conduct his own analysis, as well as to help him secure debt financing for the deal. It added that the company’s refusal to cooperate indicated a concern for what Musk’s analysis might uncover.


The letter concluded with a warning that Musk reserved all his rights under the agreement, including his right to walk away from the deal and “terminate” it.



“This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement,” the letter said.

Twitter, whose CEO has published a Twitter thread explaining how spam accounts are measured and the difficulties of doing so via a third party, said it continued to cooperate with Musk. It said: “Twitter has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement … We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”

Musk’s letter, published on the website of the US financial watchdog on Monday, follows a negotiation-by-tweet process undertaken by the billionaire in recent weeks. On 17 May he tweeted that the deal “cannot move forward” until the spam and fake account issue had been resolved.

Fake or spam accounts, known as bot accounts, are automated and not run by human users. They may use the reply function or direct messages to send adverts or scams to users, or represent attempts to influence public discourse by tweeting political propaganda.

Twitter has stated consistently in its quarterly results since 2014 that it estimates its spam account problem to represent less than 5% of its users. However, since striking the deal in April Musk has raised concerns that the number of false accounts could be much higher. The platform currently has 229 million users.

The formal agreement between Musk and Twitter underpinning the takeover would allow the Tesla boss to walk away from the deal without paying a break fee if there is a material breach, according to Brian Quinn, an associate professor at Boston College law school.

Quinn added that Musk’s allegation of a breach was weak and that his argument could ultimately be decided in court. One of the deal covenants states that Twitter must provide information “related to the consummation of the transactions contemplated by this agreement”, while another relates to any information required to secure debt financing for the deal. Quinn said Twitter could go to court to argue that further data and information on bots is not needed to close the deal or secure the debt financing.

“It is possible the board will tire of the back and forth letters and will go to court. The parties might end up renegotiating the price, but I don’t think Musk has a strong case to walk given the abundant evidence of his trying to find an excuse to walk away,” said Quinn.

John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia University, said Musk was paying the price for trying to rush the deal. He said he expected the Tesla chief to seek a lower price for the deal although “Twitter will not concede that much given Musk’s shaky position”.

“If Musk had felt that this information about the percentage of bots was critical, he could have negotiated for a representation or done due diligence. He did neither. He was in a rush to close and now that market prices have reversed, he is eager to delay,” Coffee said.


Twitter shares had fallen 2.5% to $39.17 by afternoon trading in New York. The Musk agreement values the company at $54.20 a share.


If Musk breaches the deal agreement by seeking to walk away without a reason covered by the document, Twitter has the option of seeking a $1bn termination fee from him or asking a court to require Musk to complete the transaction at the agreed price.


On Monday afternoon, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton announced he was launching an investigation into Twitter for “potentially false reporting over its fake bot accounts” to determine if doing so had violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Though he did not mention Musk by name, the investigation echoes talking points used by the Tesla founder regarding the bot issue. Critics have speculated Paxton is trying to appeal to Musk, who moved Tesla’s headquarters to Texas in 2021.
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Old 14-06-22, 10:15   #5
 
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Update Re: Musk to Hold First Meeting With Twitter Staff

Musk to Hold First Meeting With Twitter Staff This Week

Elon Musk will speak to Twitter employees on Thursday for the first time since launching his $44bn (£36.2bn) bid for the company in April.

BBC News 14 JUN 2022.






The multi-billionaire Tesla boss is expected to take questions from Twitter's workers at the meeting.

Mr Musk has warned he may quit the deal if the firm fails to provide data about fake accounts on the platform.




The event was announced by Twitter's chief executive Parag Agrawal in an email to staff on Monday.

Mr Agrawal told employees they could submit questions to Mr Musk in advance of the meeting.

The news, which was first reported by Business Insider, was confirmed to the BBC by a spokesperson for Twitter.

The all-hands meeting will be the first time Mr Musk will have spoken directly with the company's workforce since launching his takeover bid.

Earlier this month, he threatened to walk away from the deal, accusing the social media company of "thwarting" his requests to learn more about its user base.

In a letter filed with regulators, Mr Musk said he was entitled to do his own measurement of spam accounts.

The letter formalised a dispute that had simmered for weeks after he declared the deal "on hold" pending further information.

Analysts have said that Mr Musk might be using the issue to try to renegotiate the price or even walk away from the deal. They said his decision to raise the matter on social media was unconventional, making it difficult to establish how serious he was.

When Mr Agrawal defended the company's process for identifying fake accounts in a series of tweets, Mr Musk responded with a poo emoji.

The company's shares stood at $37.03 each at the end of New York trading on Monday, well below Mr Musk's offer price of $54.20.
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