Musk ditches Twitter deal, triggering defiant response

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Elon Musk on Friday pulled the plug on his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, accusing the social media giant of “misleading” statements about the number of fake accounts, a regulatory filing showed.,Musk’s effort to terminate the deal that he inked in April sets the stage for an epic court battle over a billion-dollar breakup fee and more.,“Mr. Musk hereby exercises (the) right to terminate the Merger Agreement and abandon the transaction,” his lawyers said in a letter to Twitter, a copy of which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.,Musk’s change of heart appeared to suggest some “buyer’s remorse” for offering a price of $54.20 per share that now appears “laughable,” CFRA Research senior equity analyst Angelo Zino said in a note to investors before the deal was officially nixed.,Twitter has held firm that no more than five percent of accounts are run by software instead of people, while Musk has said he believes the number to be much higher.,Immediately after the news broke, Twitter board chair Bret Taylor vowed to sue Musk to hold him to the terms of the buyout deal, saying “we are confident we will prevail.”,The clock was ticking for Musk to make a decision, with Twitter’s board recommending shareholders approve the buyout at a special vote expected to be held in August.,Musk — the world’s richest man — used a chunk of his fortune in Tesla shares to back loans to buy Twitter, but the tumult and market factors have pushed down the electric car maker’s stock price.,“The Twitter deal has clearly caused chaos at Twitter and has resulted in an overhang on Tesla’s stock since April given the Musk financing angle, coupled by a brutal market backdrop for risk,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.