Elon Musk is likely to pay a high price for his Twitter takeover games

Wilmington, Delaware - Twitter’s lawsuit trying to force Elon Musk into buying the company could be the "world’s most expensive case of 'if you break it, you pay for it,'" a social media expert said.

Elon Musk's game of chicken with Twitter could end up costing him a lot.
Elon Musk's game of chicken with Twitter could end up costing him a lot.  © Collage: REUTERS & Mike Coppola / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

On Tuesday, Twitter confirmed it has filed a lawsuit in Delaware to force Musk to complete his takeover of the site after he said last week he was backing out of the deal.

It comes after weeks of public fighting between the Tesla boss and the social media platform over Musk’s allegations Twitter had not been honest about the number of fake accounts on the site.

Lawyers for Musk said on Friday that bosses failed to provide him with enough information to “make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform.”

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In response, Twitter’s lawsuit says Musk "refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests."

It continues with some searing lines: "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."

Twitter describes Musk as hypocrite

Twitter’s share price has dipped in recent weeks amid the uncertainty around the takeover.
Twitter’s share price has dipped in recent weeks amid the uncertainty around the takeover.  © REUTERS

Social media expert and industry commentator, Matt Navarra, told the PA news agency that the legal action "gives a brutally blunt blow-by-blow account of Elon Musk’s corporate takeover theatrics."

It contains a reference to a number of tweets about the deal from Musk, including the poo emoji he sent in reply to a tweet from the platform’s chief executive about fake account numbers.

"Twitter describes Elon Musk as a hypocrite who has trashed the company and caused 'irreparable damage,'" Navarra said.

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"Yet Twitter wants a judge to force Elon Musk to pay up and complete the $44 billion dollar takeover deal he started. This could end up being the world’s most expensive case of 'If you break it, you pay for it.'"

The lawsuit has called for a quick resolution to the stand-off, with Twitter asking for a hearing as soon as September.

Takeover game could be expensive – but will Musk even care?

Navarra said it seems "unlikely" a judge would let Musk walk away from the deal without a "meaningful penalty."

"The question is how big will the penalty need to be to deter the world’s richest man from future takeover games, and compensate Twitter for the 'irreparable damage' this farcical deal has inflicted?"

Twitter’s share price has dipped in recent weeks amid the uncertainty around the takeover.

Navarra said Musk’s ego "thrives on the drama" but "his game of corporate takeover theatrics was heading for a dramatic end."

"This could end up being a very expensive performance for him. But I doubt he’ll even care. He’ll probably just shrug it off with (a) meme... on Twitter."

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS & Mike Coppola / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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