The tumultuous saga of Elon Musk’s on-again, off-again purchase of Twitter took a turn toward a conclusion Tuesday after the mercurial Tesla CEO proposed to buy the company at the originally agreed-on price of $44 billion.
Musk made the proposal in a letter to Twitter that the company disclosed in a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It came less than two weeks before a trial between the two parties was scheduled to start in Delaware.
In a statement, Twitter said it intends to close the transaction at $54.20 per share after receiving the letter from Musk.
Trading in Twitter’s stock, which had been halted for much of the day pending release of the news, resumed late Tuesday and soared 22% to close at $52.
Musk’s proposal is the latest twist in a high-profile saga involving the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms. Much of the drama has played out on Twitter itself, with Musk — who has more than 100 million followers — lamenting that the company was failing to live up to its potential as a platform for free speech.
A letter from Musk’s lawyer dated Monday and disclosed by Twitter in a securities filing said Musk would close the merger signed in April, provided that the Delaware Chancery Court “enter an immediate stay” of Twitter’s lawsuit against him and adjourn the trial scheduled to start October 17.
By completing the deal, Musk essentially gave Twitter what it was seeking from the court — “specific performance” of the contract with Musk, meaning he would have to go through with the purchase at the original price. The contract Musk signed also has a $1 billion breakup fee.
Eric Talley, a law professor at Columbia University, said he’s not surprised by Musk’s turnaround, especially ahead of a scheduled deposition of Musk by Twitter attorneys starting Thursday that was “not going to be pleasant.”
“On the legal merits, his case didn’t look that strong,” Talley said. “It kind of seemed like a pretty simple buyer’s remorse case.”
If Musk were to lose the trial, the judge could not only force him to close the deal but also impose interest payments that would have increased its cost, Talley said.
What did surprise Talley is that Musk doesn’t appear to be trying to renegotiate the deal. Even a modest price reduction might have given Musk a “moral victory” and the ability to say he got something out of the protracted dispute, Talley said.
Neither Twitter nor attorneys for Musk responded to requests for comment Tuesday.
Musk has been trying to back out of the deal for several months after signing on to buy the San Francisco company in April. Shareholders have already approved the sale, and legal experts say Musk faced a huge challenge to defend against Twitter’s lawsuit, which was filed in July.
Musk claimed that Twitter undercounted the number of fake accounts on its platform, and Twitter sued when Musk announced the deal was off.
Musk’s argument largely rested on the allegation that Twitter misrepresented how it measures the magnitude of “spam bot” accounts that are useless to advertisers. Most legal experts believe he faced an uphill battle to convince Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, the court’s head judge, that something changed since the April merger agreement that justifies terminating the deal.
Legal experts said Musk may have anticipated that he would lose. Things haven’t been going well for him in court recently, with the judge ruling more frequently in Twitter’s favor on evidentiary matters, said Ann Lipton, an associate law professor at Tulane University. The judge denied several of Musk’s discovery requests, Lipton said.
It’s also possible that Musk’s co-investors in the deal were starting to get nervous about how the case was proceeding, she said.
Musk’s main argument for terminating the deal – that Twitter was misrepresenting how it measured its “spam bot” problem – also didn’t appear to be going well as Twitter had been working to pick apart Musk’s attempts to get third-party data scientists to bolster his concerns.
Mysteriously, neither Musk nor Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal have written anything about the deal on Twitter.
If the deal does go through, Musk may be stuck with a company he damaged with repeated statements denouncing fake accounts, Susannah Streeter, senior markets analyst for Hargreaves Lansdown in the United Kingdom, wrote in an investor note.
“This is an important metric considered to be key for future revenue streams via paid advertising or for subscriptions on the site, and his relentless scrutiny of Twitter’s figures over the last few months is likely to prompt questions from potential advertising partners,” she wrote.your ad here
Сполучені Штати наразі не мають інформації, яка б підтверджувала повідомлення медіа про те, що Росія готується застосувати тактичну ядерну зброю на полі бою в Україні або поблизу нього. Про це заявила заступниця помічника міністра оборони США з питань України, Росії та Євразії Лора Купер на брифінгу 4 жовтня.
На питання журналістів Купер сказала, що бачила лише «звіти з відкритих джерел», які свідчать про те, що Росія може переміщувати тактичну ядерну зброю залізницею.
Вона додала, що армія США наразі не бачила нічого, що могло б змінити ядерну позицію Вашингтону.
Читайте також: США назвали «нерозважливим і небезпечним» запуск КНДР ракети над Японією
Купер також сказала, що Пентагон уважно стежить за ядерними силами Росії, що лишається основною частиною його місії з часів Холодної війни.
Цього ж дня речниця Білого дому Карін Жан-П’єр заявила, що США дуже серйозно ставляться до заяви про застосування ядерної зброї.
«Ми не бачили жодних причин для коригування нашої власної стратегічної ядерної позиції, а також у нас немає жодних ознак того, що Росія готується неминуче застосувати ядерну зброю», – водночас сказала вона.
Коментарі офіційних осіб США прозвучали після того, як 3 жовтня газета The Times повідомила, що Путін збирається провести ядерне випробування на кордоні з Україною. Лондонська газета повідомила, що НАТО попередило своїх членів про випробування.
За словами офіційного представника альянсу, якого цитує Reuters, НАТО наразі також не помітило змін у ядерній позиції Росії.
Відповідаючи на запитання про ці повідомлення, прессекретар Кремля Дмитро Пєсков сказав, що західні ЗМІ та політики «зараз активно займаються ядерною риторикою», а Росія нібито відмовилася брати в цьому участь.
Путін, а також інші представники російської влади від початку повномасштабного вторгнення неодноразово натякали на ядерний арсенал Росії та відплату, попереджаючи НАТО не втручатися у війну в Україні.
Раніше президент США Джо Байден попередив Путіна про серйозні наслідки в разі застосування Росією ядерної чи хімічної зброї.your ad here
Google has ended its Google Translate service in mainland China, citing “low usage” of one of its flagship products by mainland China users.
The move surprised users, who said they first noticed not being able to access the function over the weekend.
“The Google Translate mobile app was also discontinued a year ago in 2021,” a Google spokesperson told VOA on Monday in response to a request for further details on the company’s decision.
The translation service had been available to mainland Chinese users since 2017.
While The Associated Press reported Monday that “it is not clear how many users were using Google Translate in China,” the South China Morning Post cited an international data tracking company’s figure of 53.5 million visits to the platform in the month of August alone.
AP noted that “the translation feature built into the Google Chrome browser also no longer functions for users in China.”
Wei Jingsheng, a leading Chinese dissident living in exile in the United States, told VOA in a phone interview Monday that in his view, Google has been trying to put on a “balancing act” — maintaining its reputation and credibility as a global internet giant operating around the world while finding a space to operate in the highly restrictive environment in China.
“It is safe to anticipate that the company is constantly under pressure from the Chinese government to meet its demands,” Wei told VOA.
“We don’t know what exactly lay behind Google’s decision to pull its translation service from China. Fifty-three-point-five million is not a small number,” he said, referring to the figured quoted by South China Morning Post.
Google said its mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” But as various media have reported, the California-based internet giant’s path to spreading its wings in mainland China over the past two decades has not been smooth.
The company pulled its search engine from the Chinese market in 2010 after the company became unwilling to abide by China’s censorship rules, AP reported on Monday.
Chinese platforms must “strictly” abide by Chinese authorities’ censorship rules and “censor keywords and topics the authorities deem politically sensitive,” AP said.
AP added that China later moved to block other Google services such as Gmail and Google Maps and noted that Google was not alone in being blocked or otherwise restricted. Chinese users are also not allowed to have Facebook accounts.
Media outlets including TechCrunch — which was the first to report Google’s shutdown of the translation platform — noted that Google’s decision came two weeks before the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, scheduled to begin on October 16.
“The Chinese government has previously blocked Google services around major political events and politically sensitive anniversaries like that of the Tiananmen Square massacre,” the online publication of high-tech news said.
Google did not respond to VOA’s question about any potential connection between the translation service being discontinued and the Communist Party Congress.
Although China boasts the world’s largest internet market, when it comes to political topics, Chinese authorities are known to impose strict limitations as to what information Chinese citizens can access or have the freedom to discuss.
Official versions of political events like the upcoming Communist Party Congress are routinely disseminated from national media down to provincial, city, county, township and village levels through a vast network of state media.
Wei explained that Chinese citizens often turn to foreign sources to get a fuller picture of what goes on behind the scenes at the Congress and other news about their own country, due to a lack of trust in official media.
“They can just copy and paste foreign-language text” and get it translated into their native language with Google Translate, he said.
“People often feel that there’s better privacy protection when they use Google and other foreign companies’ products,” Wei added, since Chinese domestic companies are uniformly obligated to comply with government requests for user information.
State institutions taking notice
Although Google Maps and now Google Translate are not accessible to ordinary Chinese users, Chinese state institutions, including state media, have been paying attention to Google’s capacity.
On April 18, two months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, People’s Daily Online, one of China’s leading state media, posted on Weibo — a Twitter- and Instagram-like social platform — a China Central Television report that Google Maps provided satellite imaging of “all of Russia’s military and strategic assets with the highest definition.”
That post received 123,000 “likes,” and was reposted more than 5,200 times. A commentator under the name of “boyfriend of the nation” wrote, “Look everyone, this is what we will encounter later on.”