The world’s wealthiest man has challenged Twitter’s CEO to a debate. The challenge is the latest twist in Elon Musk’s Twitter saga, which began in April when the billionaire revealed he was the social media platform’s largest shareholder. Following the revelation, Musk announced his intention to purchase the platform, and things quickly escalated.
Tesla’s initial offering price was $54.20 per share, leaving him with a bill of around $44 billion. Musk even raised some of the funds through loans secured by his substantial Tesla stock, as well as pledging $21 billion of his own money. Twitter’s board of directors and shareholders approved the deal, but we halted it when Musk and his team complained about the number of fake accounts and bots on the platform. Musk demanded proof to back up Twitter’s estimates that 5% of its accounts were bots, as well as access to what Twitter deemed an unreasonable amount of data. When his demands were not met, the founder of Paypal pulled the plug.
The story, however, did not end there. Musk signed a deal with Twitter that included a $1 billion break fee before serious negotiations began. The world’s richest man may not get off so easily, as Twitter is currently suing Musk to force the deal through. While a judge may sympathize with Musk’s bot concerns and rule in his favor, the billionaire is almost certain to be forced to pay the break fee. There’s also the possibility that Twitter will be owed compensation for the impact the ordeal has had on its stock price, or that Musk will be stuck with the entire $44 billion bill.
Musk calls out Twitter CEO
Musk has not taken the situation lightly. He has countersued Twitter, accusing the social media platform of deception. Twitter has responded to the countersuit with its own 127-page document (opens as PDF), while the company’s chairman, Bret Taylor, has dismissed the countersuit’s allegations as “factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant.”
However, the most recent developments have occurred outside of the courtroom. I have made the entire feud public, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the South African-born entrepreneur wants it to end in public as well. Musk openly challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a debate while responding to a data analyst who supported his bot claims. “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage,” Musk tweeted, adding that Agrawal should demonstrate that Twitter has less than 5% “fake or spam daily users.”
Earlier in the thread, Musk tweeted that if Twitter discloses the methodology it uses to determine whether an account is real or not, the initial agreement “should proceed on original terms.” Musk, on the other hand, stated that the deal should be canceled if it is discovered that Twitter’s “SEC filings are materially false.” At the time of publication, neither Twitter nor Agrawal had responded to Musk’s challenge.