Why does Elon Musk want to pull the plug on buying Twitter and what happens next?
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has scrapped his $44bn bid to buy Twitter - but the issue is far from over.
He is now being sued by the social media company to complete the massive merger, insisting he is now legally committed to buying it.
That could leave him with a company he seems to no longer want, and he may face a ‘break up’ fee of $1bn
The issue has left a question mark hanging over the deal - and what happens next for Twitter.
Speculation has been rife for weeks that the mega deal was falling apart.
Lawyers for Mr Musk confirmed he was terminating the merger.
They claimed Twitter was “in material breach of multiple provisions of that agreement, appears to have made false and misleading representations upon which Mr Musk relied when entering into the merger agreement.”
Last month, Mr Musk flagged concerns over the number of spam or fake accounts on the social media platform, indicating it was a clear barrier to the deal going ahead.
He put everything on hold pending details supporting claims the accounts added up to less than 5% of users, while Twitter suspended up to one million spam accounts per day.
Mr Musk said Twitter, with 390m global users, had no way of verifying the actual number.
The billionaire said he had repeatedly asked for the information as the deal began to stall.
His lawyer stated: “Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr Musk’s requests, 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”
Mr Musk declared his takeover bid on April 14.
The deal has effectively been on hold since mid-May, and could now end up in court, but speculation centres around whether Mr Musk has simply had a case of buyer’s remorse.
He is an avid user of the social media platform, and also a fierce critic of it.
He said he wanted Twitter to champion free speech, but came under fire for a lack of detail.
His plans also included content restrictions, removing the fake and automated accounts, and shifting away from its advertising-based revenue model.
He also pledged to grow its user base to over 900million users in the next six years.
Many see the threats of legal action as another bargaining tool in the negotiations.
When Mr Musk challenged Twitter over spam and fake accounts, its chief executive, Parag Agrawal, issued a lengthy explanation in a Twitter thread - only for the billionaire to respond with a poo emoji.
Twitter could also face the possibility of a protracted court battle to either salvage the massive deal or secure its break-up fee.
The company said it was “confident we will prevail in the Delaware court of chancery” - the court where any legal showdown would take place.
For Twitter users, nothing seems set to change in the immediate future as they watch, and comment on, the debris of the take-over deal.