Twitter to sue Elon Musk in bid to force him to complete $44m takeover

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Twitter looks set to sue Elon Musk after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO sensationally pulled out of a bid to buy the social media giant for $44 billion, or £36.8 billion, according to reports.

Last Friday (July 8) the world's richest man told Twitter that he was pulling out of the deal to buy the social media platform, citing concerns over the amount of spam accounts or "bots".

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In response, Twitter chairman Bret Taylor said the company intended to take legal action.

And that looks to have been initiated, with the New York Times reporting that the company has started legal proceedings against Musk.

"Here we go: Twitter sues Elon Musk," one the publication's tech reporters, Kate Conger, tweeted late on Tuesday, July 12.

Twitter sued him in Chancery Court in Delaware, NYT reported.

The court will now decide whether he is legally obliged to go through with the purchase, or whether Twitter did indeed break its end of the deal for, as Mr Musk puts it, not giving him data he requested about bot accounts.

He repeatedly said he did not believe Twitter's public statements that roughly 5 percent of its active users are bots. He thought it was much more.

But Twitter has said it's confident in its figures, and that Musk has "knowingly, intentionally, willfully and materially breached” his agreement to buy the firm, as put by the company's lawyers in a letter to the billionaire's on Sunday, July 10.

They added that his move to terminate the deal was “invalid and wrongful”.

The New York Times reported that Twitter included a specific performance clause that allows it to sue to force the deal through, so long as the debt that Musk has corralled for the acquisition is in place.

A $1 billion break up fee is also believed to have been written into the deal.

However, the aforementioned title reported that this is an option allowed only under certain circumstances, such as if Musk’s financing fell through.

The two sides could also settle, but it is likely that Musk will be called to a hearing in Delaware so both sides can present facts they feel are relevant to the case.

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It could then proceed to a trial, with the whole process expected to take months.

Despite exuding confidence regarding his chances in the upcoming court battle, experts have warned that there is a fair chance Musk will be forced to complete the takeover.

Boston College law school professor Brian Quinn told The Guardian that Musk's requests for information on spam accounts were not "reasonable".

He added: "He can’t use unreasonable information requests to create a pretext to claim a violation."

Agreeing, Columbia University law professor John Coffee said: "Musk is on very weak legal grounds."

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