Invest: Elon Musk’s playing dirty with Twitter

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Elon Musk has done the thinkable: He’s announced his intent to back out of his deal to purchase Twitter for $44 billion.

Musk had been (very publicly) expressing doubts about buying Twitter since just weeks after he signed on the dotted line in April, The Verge notes. But Musk made it official yesterday, filing a statement with the SEC claiming that Twitter is in “material breach” of its contract with him, and therefore he’s seeking to terminate the deal.

It’s about the bots, innit?

Correct. Musk has repeatedly claimed that Twitter is underestimating the number of bots on its platform, thereby breaching their agreement. In the SEC filing, Musk’s team wrote that the company has “failed or refused to provide” information on fake or spam accounts for two months.

Twitter gives 280 characters but not a single F about Musk’s argument. The company has supported its calculations in a number of ways, such as explaining in painstaking detail how it estimates the number of bot accounts on its platform, and giving Musk a “firehose” of data to crunch the numbers himself.

Analysts have long speculated that Musk is using the bot problem as cover for trying to renegotiate or abandon the deal after a chunk of his fortune was wiped out due to plunging Tesla stock.

Unfortunately for everyone who’s tired of this story, this is just the beginning

In response to Musk’s statement, Twitter’s board told him something no one’s ever uttered before in human history: “Let’s go to Delaware.” Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor tweeted that the board is committed to closing the transaction on the terms and price Elon Musk agreed to, and it will pursue legal action in the Delaware Court of Chancery to enforce the deal.

Good one Twitter! Show the clown who is the boss!

So now we’ve got a nasty court fight on our hands, pitting the world’s richest person against the company that he’s tried so very hard not to buy but may be forced to buy anyway.