Billionaire Elon Musk is proposing to go ahead with his original offer of Ksh.5 trillion ($44 billion) to take Twitter private, a securities filing showed on Tuesday, signaling an end to a legal battle that could have forced Musk to pay up.
An agreement would put the world’s richest person in charge of one of the most influential media platforms and end months of litigation that damaged Twitter’s brand and fed Musk’s reputation for erratic behavior.
The news comes ahead of a highly anticipated face-off between Musk and Twitter in Delaware’s Court of Chancery on October 17, in which the social media company was set to seek an order directing Musk to close the deal for $44 billion.
Musk sent Twitter a letter on Monday that said he intended to proceed with the deal on the original terms if the Delaware judge stayed the proceedings. A source familiar with Twitter’s team told Reuters that at a court hearing on Tuesday morning, the judge requested the two sides report back in the evening.
It was not immediately clear why Musk chose to abandon his fight.
Twitter received Musk’s letter and intended to close the deal at the original Ksh.6,271 ($54.20) per share price, a spokesperson told Reuters. Twitter did not say whether it accepted Musk’s offer.
Musk, one of Twitter’s most prominent users, said in July he could walk away without penalty because the number of bot accounts was much higher than Twitter’s estimate of less than five percent of users.
Bots are automated accounts, and their use can lead to overestimations of how many humans are on the service, which is important for advertising rates and the overall value of the service.
Twitter’s legal team on September 27 said documents obtained from two data scientists employed by Musk showed they estimated the number of fake accounts on the platform at 5.3 and 11 percent.