Twitter has reportedly thrown its $44 billion buyout by Elon Musk to a shareholder vote, which could take place around late July or early August.
Execs told employees of the plans on Wednesday, according to outlets including CNBC and the Financial Times.
The move follows reiterations by Musk’s camp that he is prepared to walk away from the deal if the social media network fails to provide accurate information on the number of fake accounts.
This would mean taking a hit from the termination fee but, hey, what’s $1 billion to the world’s richest man?
In an attempt to break the stalemate, Twitter has agreed to share ever more data with the SpaceX and Tesla mogul, including that which it sells to social media monitoring companies as part of its licensing business. It is giving this data to Musk for free – perhaps as soon as this week, according to The Washington Post sources.
This includes what has been called the “firehose,” the “massive stream of data comprising more than 500 million tweets posted each day,” as described by WaPo, “which comprises not only a real-time record of tweets but the devices they tweet from, as well as information about the accounts that tweet.” Private details not made public on Twitter, such as IP address, are not included in the dataset.
Musk’s team insists that spam and bot activity on the platform, which could affect Twitter’s profitability, cannot be fully understood without access to the firehose.
“Mr Musk believes the company is actively resisting and thwarting his information rights (and the company’s corresponding obligations) under the merger agreement,” his lawyers wrote Monday.
“This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement.”
Maybe the firehose will sate the multibillionaire, maybe not, because the saga has been rumbling on a while, leaving observers wondering whether this is a joke that has gotten out of hand – which wouldn’t be surprising for someone whose Twitter account is 50 percent memes.
If you recall, Musk offered to acquire Twitter for $54.20 per share in an all-cash deal worth over $44 billion in April. Twitter’s board members resisted his attempt to take the company private but eventually accepted the deal.
Musk then sold $8.4 billion worth of his Tesla shares, and secured another $7.14 billion from investors to try to collect the $21 billion he promised to front himself. Tesla’s stock price has been falling since while Twitter shares gained and then tailed downward.
The hurt sustained by Tesla has led some to speculate that Musk is now looking for a way out. In any case, with the merger in the hands of Twitter’s stockholders, maybe we can draw a line under this Ross-and-Rachel episode by August. ®