Tesla CEO Musk’s relation with Twitter, one of the most popular social media platform or town square as it is famously called, has been rocky from the very start. While Musk has been the platform’s avid users, his tweets, have gotten him into trouble on various occasions. Be it the ‘pedo guy’ comment on a British researcher who saved kids in a cave in Thailand, or his tweet about securing funding for taking Tesla private, which earned him and his company a fine of $20 million from the SEC each, Musk and Twitter have never had a easy going relation. This rocky relation got a bit more difficult when Musk made his bid to buy Twitter earlier this year. Also Read - Elon Musk says Tesla cars will become robotaxis like combination of Uber, Airbnb: Musk
First, Musk purchased a minority stakeholder in the micro-blogging platform and then he became Twitter’s biggest shareholder. But he did not stop there. Soon after, he made his $44 billion bid to buy the company. Fearing a hostile takeover attempt, Twitter’s board adopted the poison pill defence, which prevented anyone from acquiring more than 15 percent of the company’s shares and in doing so taking over the company forcibly. Also Read - Twitter confirms hackers took advantage of bug that exposed data of 5.4 million users
The saga took a fresh turn when Twitter’s board, on persuading by Musk, agreed to sell the company at $54.20 per share amounting to a whopping $44 billion. This made the deal, biggest one in the tech world so far. Also Read - How to download videos from Twitter app on your smartphone (Android/iOS)
However, in May this year, Musk threatened to walk away from the deal if Twitter failed to prove that less than five percent of accounts on its platform were bots. Twitter responded to the matter by giving Musk access to its coveted Firehose API that gave the Tesla CEO access to all of the company’s data in real time. Clearly, this wasn’t enough for Musk who has now decided to walk away from the deal altogether.
As Twitter vs Elon Musk saga unfolds, here is a comprehensive timeline of everything that has happened so far:
> January 31, 2022: Elon Musk quietly starts acquiring Twitter’s shares. March 14, 2022, he had acquired over five percent of the company’s stake.
> March 24, 2022: Soon after, Tesla CEO began publicly criticising the micro-blogging platform. “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy…Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?,” he wrote in a tweet.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?,” he wrote in another tweet.
Is a new platform needed?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
> April 4, 2022: Musk’s share in Twitter become public and documents submitted at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveal that the SpaceX founder had acquired a 9.2 percent stake in the company. This, as mentioned before, made him the single largest shareholder of the micro-blogging platform.
> April 5, 2022: Musk starts upping his ante and becomes an active investor in Twitter. On the same day, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and the company’s board offer Musk a place on Twitter’s board.
He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 5, 2022
> April 9, 2022: Musk, in a rather cordial tweet, said that he was looking forward to working with Agrawal and the company’s board. He also (politely) declined Twitter’s offer to join its board.
> April 11, 2022: Shortly after, Agrawal announced that Musk had rejected the offer to join Twitter’s board.
Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief note to the company, sharing with you all here. pic.twitter.com/lfrXACavvk
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 11, 2022
> April 14, 2022: Days after, Musk disclosed that he made an offer to Twitter’s board to buy the company at $54.20 per share, which valued the company at around $44 billion. In the same tweet, he also shared details of his offer. You can check it out here.
I made an offer https://t.co/VvreuPMeLu
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2022
> April 15, 2022: A day after, Twitter’s board adopted poison pill defence in a bid to thwart Musk’s hostile takeover attempt. You can read all about it here.
On the same day, Musk tweeted a report by Goldman Sachs dated February 2022, which valued the company at $30 per share. In the same tweet, Musk questioned the board’s decision of declining his buyout bid. Here’s what he said.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2022
> April 21, 2022: Shortly after, Musk lined up $46.5 billion for funding the Twitter deal. The funds included $33.5 billion of his own money, and a sum of $13 billion which Morgan Stanley agreed to provide.
> April 24, 2022: Musk held discussions with Twitter’s board for two days to discuss the deal in detail.
> April 26, 2022: A day later, Twitter announced that Musk will buy Twitter. “Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important,” Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal said on the occasion.
🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey also tweeted his support for the deal. Here’s what he said:
Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” is the right one. This is also @paraga’s goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart.
— jack (@jack) April 26, 2022
> May 4, 2022: Musk talks about making Twitter profitable. His suggests introducing a ‘slight cost’ for government and commercial users. At the same time, he assured that the platform will remain free for ‘casual’ users.
Twitter will always be free for casual users, but maybe a slight cost for commercial/government users
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 3, 2022
> May 13, 2022: In a curve ball measure, Musk said that the Twitter deal had been put on hold temporarily. In his tweet announcing the move, Musk said quoted a Reuters report wherein Twitter said that less than five percent of its active users represent spam or fake accounts.
Still committed to acquisition
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2022
> May 15, 2022: Two days later, Musk shared a Twitter thread claiming that users were being manipulated by Twitter’s algorithms.
“You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize,” he wrote in a tweet.
“I’m not suggesting malice in the algorithm, but rather that it’s trying to guess what you might want to read and, in doing so, inadvertently manipulate/amplify your viewpoints without you realizing this is happening,” he added in another.
Very important to fix your Twitter feed:
1. Tap home button.
2. Tap stars on upper right of screen.
3. Select “Latest tweets”.
You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize.
Easy to switch back & forth to see the difference.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2022
> May 15, 2022: Musk locked horns with Agrawal over the number of spam accounts on the platform. Frustrated Twitter CEO shared a long Twitter thread explaining how spams work and how Twitter was countering them. You can read about it here.
> May 17, 2022: Musk said that the Twitter acquisition deal would not move forward unless Twitter proved that less than five percent of accounts on its platform were bots.
20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher.
My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.
Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%.
This deal cannot move forward until he does.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022
> May 25, 2022: Twitter’s investors blocked an ally of Elon Musk — Egon Durban–to join the company’s board at an annual meeting.
> May 26, 2022: Twitter’s investors sued Elon Musk claiming that he tried to manipulate Twitter’s stocks downwards as he made his bid to buy the company. In their lawsuit, the investors claimed that Musk had saved himself $156 million by failing to disclose that he had purchased more than five percent of Twitter’s shares by March 14. You can read all about it here.
> May 29, 2022: Musk slammed Twitter for having bot friendly rules. “Totally, these are very bot-friendly rules,” Musk wrote in a tweet responding to another users’ complaints of the platform having too many bots. ““Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of less than 5 per cent. This deal cannot move forward until he does,” he had added. You can read about it here.
> June 6, 2022: Musk threatened to walk out from the Twitter deal citing Twitter’s non-cooperation as the reason. Reuters reported that Musk sent a letter to the company wherein he said that Twitter was “transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data.”
> June 9, 2022: Nearly two days later, Twitter handed over Musk access to its firehose API. This API gave Musk access to all of company’s data in real time.
> June 21, 2022: Musk while addressing the Qatar Economic Forum said that he was still waiting to know the presence of the actual number of bots on the platform. He also said that there were still a few “unresolved matters” with Twitter before he went ahead with his $44 billion takeover deal.
> June 22, 2022: In an SEC filing, Twitter’s board of directors recommended that shareholders approve Musk’s $44 billion buyout deal. The board “unanimously recommends that you vote (for) the adoption of the merger agreement,” said in the SEC filing.
> July 9, 2022: The SpaceX founder in an SEC filing revealed his intent of backing out from the $44 billion Twitter deal. “For nearly two months, Mr Musk has sought the data and information necessary to ‘make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform…Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information,” the SEC filing said.
The same day Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor said that Twitter’s board was focused on closing the transaction and that it was suing Musk over backing down from the deal.
The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
— Bret Taylor (@btaylor) July 8, 2022
> July 11, 2022: Reports revealed that Twitter has hired Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to sue Musk in the Delaware Court of Chancery. It is the same firm that is accredited with developing the poison pill defence. Musk, on the other hand, hired Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to defend his case. The firm has worked with him twice in the past. You can read all about it here.
The same day, Musk shared a tweet mocking the entire situation. Here’s what he said:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2022