After months of uncertainty, the bullet is through the church: Elon Musk is definitely not going to buy Twitter. Perhaps this is the start of a long-standing legal issue over an agreement that was rather puzzling from the start.

Almost three months ago, Musk made a takeover bid of 44 billion dollars (more than 41 billion euros). It’s a pretty aggressive move, because Twitter wasn’t for sale. The social media company initially refused, but still accepted when it turned out that Musk could get the money together.

The billionaire had big plans for Twitter. He said Twitter’s potential is not being exploited to the fullest and that he wanted to make freedom of expression much more important. According to Musk, Twitter determines too much what can and cannot be said. He hoped to make money by attracting more users and paying subscribers.

The acquisition was almost complete in June. Twitter’s Board of Directors approved the purchase and advised shareholders to do the same. But slowly Musk began to crawl back.

Hassle over the number of fake accounts and spambots hung like the sword of Damocles over the deal. Musk questioned in early May that less than 5 percent of daily users on the platform are spam accounts. He thinks it’s more like 20 percent.

The owner of Tesla and SpaceX first wanted to know exactly how many bots are present on Twitter. Last Friday, Musk announced through his lawyers that he wanted to withdraw from the deal; Twitter allegedly withheld information about the number of bots.

Twitter doesn’t leave it at that. The company hired a law firm to enforce the purchase. “The board is committed to closing the transaction at the price and terms we agreed with Mr. Musk,” Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor said in a statement.

Musk responded to the company’s legal plans rather ridiculously on Twitter. The caption reads: “They said I couldn’t buy Twitter. After that, they did not want to disclose information about bots. Now they want to force me to buy Twitter and have to hand over information about bots in court.”

When signing the agreement, Musk and Twitter agreed that if one of the parties renounces the deal for a specific reason, it will face a fine of 1 billion euros. Musk would pay if he didn’t get the funding. The social media platform, in turn, would pay if another buyer was found or if the board of directors recommended shareholders vote against the bid.

It now looks like Musk is trying to get out of the deal without paying a dime. He does so by throwing the rebuttal of the deal at deception from Twitter.

Experts predict that it can turn into a messy legal battle, which, moreover, can last a long time. It will be a difficult story for Musk, they tell Reuters. “It is up to Musk to prove that the spam accounts were not only fake, but that they also have significant implications for Twitter’s revenue.”

In the past, judges in similar cases more often ruled in favor of the seller, which in this case would therefore be Twitter. But many companies choose to eventually settle with whoever wants to make the acquisition, in order to eliminate uncertainty among employees, customers and suppliers.

It will probably be months before it is known who will pull the longest end in the legal battle. Musk said he would keep his followers informed via Twitter.

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