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Elon Musk calls it quits on Twitter deal


Elon Musk officially terminated a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on Friday, a move that would appear to dash the hopes of former President Donald Trump and his staunch supporters that the dominant social media platform would loosen the content restrictions.

The move spurred a new round of attacks on Twitter’s existing management, including from Donald Trump Jr., who said it showed that censorship is going to be alive and well.

“I can almost guarantee that whatever censorship they were doing will be back tenfold at this point. Zero chance of free thought or speech there at this point,” Trump Jr. posted on Truth Social, the social media site backed by his father.

Musk has repeatedly said that he would loosen restrictions on what users can post, accusing Twitter of blocking free speech as it makes decisions about which content is too harmful for the site. And he has promised to reopen the platform to the former president — who was banned after encouraging his supporters to storm the capitol as part of the Jan. 6 riots.

The announcement came via a letter from Skadden Arps attorney Mike Ringler on the tech billionaire’s behalf, which alleged Twitter was in “material breach” of “multiple provisions” of the initial agreement, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It also alleged the company made “false and misleading representations” about the deal.

“Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s request, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information,” the letter said.

But Twitter says it isn’t over yet. The company, which could have been on the hook for a $1 billion breakup fee as a part of the cancellation, vowed to take legal action and complete the merger for original price, according to a statement from the social network’s chair Bret Taylor.

“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.

All signs point to Twitter aggressively defending its position in court, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s thinking. Twitter has fully responded to all of Musk’s request for information doesn’t believe it has breached the merger agreement, the person said. The individual was granted anonymity to discuss internal company dynamics.

Questions over the status of the deal have been raised in recent weeks, spurred in part by Musk’s public comments questioning the social network’s claim that 5 percent of its daily active users were spam accounts. Musk alleges the number is a low estimate.

Musk’s filing comes the day after Twitter said in a briefing to reporters that it is now removing more than one million spam accounts per day — double the number of accounts that CEO Parag Agrawal said the company deleted in May.

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