Twitter takeover: a private correspondence from Elon Musk evokes World War III

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According to billionaire Elon Musk, Twitter takeover is pointless if we are heading for World War III. While Twitter continues to insist that tech billionaire Elon Musk complete the buyout deal as agreed, correspondence was revealed in Delaware court in which Elon Musk pushed back on the deal because of what he saw as the possible outbreak of World War III.

An allusion to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict

Twitter continues to call for the execution of the company’s takeover agreement and is trying to prove that Elon Musk’s accusations are just a pretext to protect his own financial interests.

In the face of this dispute, Twitter’s attorney revealed correspondence at the September 6 hearing in Delaware Chancery Court showing Mr. Elon Musk’s doubts about the rachat. According to correspondence between entrepreneur Elon Musk and Morgan Stanley banker Michael Grimes, dated May 8, the Tesla boss would have offered to postpone his takeover by a few days. He added to this request:

“Putin’s speech tomorrow is really important. It makes no sense to take back Twitter when we are heading for World War III.”

Musk was referring with this statement to Russia’s annual Victory Day on May 9. In the West, it was widely expected that President Putin would use his speech that day to officially declare war on Ukraine and announce the mobilization of Russian troops, thus plunging the world into a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

Twitter takeover hinges on a case of fake profiles

In July, Musk had already unilaterally terminated the deal to buy Twitter. He then accused Twitter of giving false indications about the number of fake accounts on the platform. Meanwhile, Twitter retorted that Musk’s accusations of fake profiles were just an excuse to back out of the takeover deal after the stock market plunged. Twitter is now asking Musk to complete the acquisition as agreed.

But Elon Musk had invoked in a new letter to Twitter, written on August 29, 2022 and made public the next day, the accusations made by the company’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, to justify with additional arguments the abandonment of the Twitter takeover, initially announced in early July 2022. Twitter’s former head of security had accused the platform’s executives of intentionally overestimating the scope of their fight against fake accounts and spam.

Elon Musk - Twitter takeover

An argument that Elon Musk is now using to justify abandoning the purchase of Twitter. Tesla’s boss also wants a paper trail of presentations Mr. Peiter Zatko allegedly made to management about the risks of cyberattacks and flaws in Twitter’s computer system: “Allegations relating to certain facts, known to Twitter prior to or as of July 8, 2022, but not disclosed to the parties representing Mr. Musk prior to or as of that date, have since surfaced and provide additional and separate grounds for terminating the buyout agreement.” Mike Ringler, one of Elon Musk’s lawyers, wrote in a letter to Twitter’s general counsel.

Elon Musk’s lawyers then served Peiter Zatko with a subpoena requesting all documents and communications in his possession relating to “the impact and effects of fake accounts and spam on Twitter’s business.” The period under consideration is from January 1, 2019 to the date the summons is received.

The attorneys are also soliciting the testimony of Peiter Zatko, whom they are calling for a deposition at a facility near his New Jersey home. Attorneys for whistleblower Peiter Zatko have already indicated that he will comply with this request, as Peiter Zatko “did not alert the relevant authorities to favor Musk or weaken Twitter, but to protect the American public and Twitter shareholders.


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