Elon Musk: Twitter agrees to sell close to $65 billion in lawsuit

Elon Musk may be eager to walk away from his A$65 billion deal to buy Twitter, but the social media company isn’t in the mood to make it easy for him.

On Tuesday, US time, Twitter shareholders voted to approve the $44 billion sale of the tech company to Musk.

And it is putting more pressure on the Tesla founder, who agreed to buy Twitter in April.

But the shareholder approval came on an upsetting day for Twitter, as a former senior employee told US politicians that the company’s security was lax and it wasn’t doing enough to root out foreign spies from its ranks.

Twitter shareholders approve Musk deal

Under the terms of the sale agreement, Musk committed to paying Twitter $1 billion if it backs out of the deal.

Twitter, which has seen its stock price plummet since Musk originally said he wanted to exit in July, wants to nail it to the deal because it now means shareholders will get a better return.

If the transaction closes, Twitter shareholders will receive $54.20 per share, versus the current share price of $41.75.

Twitter’s shareholder approval of the deal leads to a legal confrontation with Mr. Musk that is set to begin next month.

Twitter said it has fulfilled all requirements of the deal as stipulated in the agreement, so it is waiting for us in full force.

Musk said he no longer wanted to buy Twitter because, he claimed, there were far more fake accounts on the platform than Twitter’s 5 percent admitted.

Whistleblower at the heart of the Musk case

Late last week, Musk sent a third message to Twitter asking to cancel the deal.

Musk bases his current arguments on a $7 million settlement that Twitter provided to Peter “Mudge” Zatko, who was Twitter’s head of security until his dismissal in January.

The company said his departure was performance-related, but Mr Zatko said it came after he blew the whistle about Twitter security.

Zatko said Twitter had failed to abide by an agreement with US authorities to plug security holes that led to the hacks. He said the company’s servers were at risk of security breaches, as were the accounts of some of its high-profile users.

He also said that not enough has been done to crack down on fake accounts and spam – which is central to Musk’s arguments that he should be allowed to back out of the deal.

Musk’s message to Twitter says that the compensation payment to Zatko was a violation of the takeover agreement which states that exceptional severance pay should not be paid to employees.

But Twitter had none of it, stating that the latest attempt to cancel the sale was “invalid and wrong.”

The company said Mr Zatko’s allegations were “full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacking important context”.

“Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to attract attention and harm Twitter, its customers and its shareholders,” it said last month.

Twitter’s announcement of approval of the deal came in the middle of Mr. Zatko’s testimony before a US Senate committee.

He told politicians that Twitter’s security was “more than a decade behind” from industry standards when he joined the company.

He also said Twitter was “unwilling to make the effort” to find potential foreign clients and kick them off their payroll.

There are concerns that if there are spies inside the company, critics of harsh regimes abroad can be identified and located.

Twitter has not yet commented on Zatko’s testimony before the Senate.

During the session, Mr. Musk tweeted a popcorn emoji indicating that he was listening intently.

The case between Musk and Twitter – which will decide whether the deal goes ahead or not – will begin on October 17.

Originally published when Twitter contributors agreed to sell to Elon Musk to close $65 billion in lawsuit

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