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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Tom Hals

Musk and Twitter ‘close to deal’ to clear way for $44bn takeover

Elon Musk of Tesla

Elon Musk and Twitter were last night said to be close to an agreement to end their litigation and clear the way for the world’s richest person to close his $44bn deal for the social media platform, a source familiar with the litigation told reporters.

Mr Musk, who is also chief executive officer of electric car maker Tesla Inc, proposed to Twitter late on Monday that he would change course and abide by his April agreement to buy the company for $54.20 per share – if Twitter dropped its litigation against him.

Musk’s proposal on Monday included a condition that the deal closing was pending the receipt of the necessary debt financing.

The potential agreement would likely remove that condition, said the source, who requested anonymity as the discussions are confidential.

Twitter’s legal team and lawyers for Musk updated the judge on Tuesday with their attempts to try to overcome mutual distrust and find a process for closing the deal.

Shares in Twitter were down 0.7pc at $51.63 on Wednesday.

On Tuesday the stock hit its highest level since Musk and Twitter’s April agreement that he would buy the company for $54.20 per share.

In July, Musk said he was walking away from the agreement because he discovered Twitter had allegedly misled him about the amount of fake accounts, among other claims.

Musk is scheduled to testify under oath in Austin, Texas in a case based on allegations by Twitter whistleblower Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko that became public in August.

Twitter’s legal team has wanted to investigate if lawyer Alex Spiro, who has led the case for Musk, had communicated with the whistleblower as early as May.

The law firm said its lawyers did not communicate with Zatko or his representatives.

Spiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to court documents, Twitter uncovered an anonymous May 6 email to Spiro from “a former exec at Twitter, leading teams directly involving trust & safety/content moderation”.

The sender offered to communicate “via alternate means”.

Zatko, who was head of Twitter security until he was fired in January, has said under oath he did not communicate with Musk or Musk’s lawyers.

The judge, Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, said in a Monday ruling it is “at least plausible” that Zatko sent the anonymous email.

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