OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is turning heads again regarding his proposed purchase of Twitter.
The Tesla CEO hinted on Wednesday that he may launch a competitor social media platform as he remains locked in a legal battle with Twitter regarding his proposed $44 billion purchase that is now in limbo.
Musk suggested that a Twitter competitor could be in the offing should his deal not go through after all.
In his legal filings, Musk has claimed that Twitter officials have not provided him with an accurate count of false or bot accounts on the platform. He and his legal team have suggested that the number may be as high as 33 percent, far more than the 5 percent Twitter has claimed.
In an exchange on the platform, Musk commented about his recent sale of some $6.9 billion in Tesla stock, explaining that he wants to avoid an “emergency sale” of more shares in the “hopefully unlikely” circumstance that a court forces the Twitter deal to go through.
In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 10, 2022
Another user asked: “Have you thought about creating your own social platform? If Twitter deal doesn’t come through?”
Musk simply replied, “X.com” — a link that currently pulls up a blank, unsecured web page.
The Daily Wire explained:
Musk co-founded X.com as an online bank in 1999, which merged with Confinity in the following year to become PayPal. In 2017, Musk purchased the domain name from PayPal while citing “sentimental value,” according to Business Insider. The site currently shows nothing more than a small black “X” in the corner of the page.
The outlet noted that Musk referenced X.com at a recent shareholder meeting for Tesla.
“I do sort of have a grander vision for what I thought X Corporation could have been back in the day,” Musk said. “It’s a pretty grand vision and of course that could be started from scratch but I think Twitter would accelerate that by three to five years.”
The world’s richest man has said in the past he doesn’t “care about the economics” of the Twitter acquisition “at all,” instead focusing on a need to deal with what he sees as a substantial lack of free speech and expression on the platform.
“It’s important to the function of democracy, it’s important to the function of the United States as a free country and many other countries, and to help freedom in the world more broadly than in the U.S.,” Musk said. “Civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform, and so I do think this will be somewhat painful.”
Musk and his legal team filed a countersuit against Twitter in late July alleging, among other things, that the platform has not been forthcoming about the actual number of fake accounts. Twitter had initially filed suit after Musk said he wanted to back out of the deal.
“Musk refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests,” the company said in the lawsuit. “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.”
There will be a five-day trial in Delaware beginning in October. The company originally asked for a four-day trial in September to have Musk “honor his obligations,” Yahoo Finance reported.
“Adoption of the merger agreement by our stockholders is the only remaining approval or regulatory condition to completing the merger under the merger agreement,” the company claimed argued in a recent earnings report, blaming a loss of $0.08 per share on the legal proceedings with Musk.
“The exact timing of completion of the merger, if at all, cannot be predicted because the merger is subject to ongoing litigation, adoption of the merger agreement by our stockholders, and the satisfaction of the remaining closing conditions,” Twitter added.
Musk’s legal team, in a July 8 letter, accused Twitter of hiding the number of bot accounts.
“Mr. Musk and his financial advisors at Morgan Stanley have been requesting critical information from Twitter as far back as May 9, 2022 — and repeatedly since then — on the relationship between Twitter’s disclosed mDAU figures and the prevalence of false or spam accounts on the platform,” the letter said.
“Notwithstanding these repeated requests over the past two months, Twitter has still failed to provide much of the data and information responsive to Mr. Musk’s repeated requests,” the letter added.