Elon Musk became Twitter Inc’s new owner on Oct. 27 as he faced an Oct.-28 court-ordered deadline to close his $44-billion deal to buy Twitter. Earlier this week, he toured the social media company’s headquarters while holding a porcelain sink and updated his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit.”
Over the past six months, Mr. Musk’s bid to buy Twitter has been filled with twists and turns, causing many observers to question whether the Tesla CEO and richest man in the world is actually serious about the takeover.
Here’s a timeline of everything that’s happened so far.
Apr. 4: Mr. Musk reveals a 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter, worth nearly $3-billion, making him the site’s largest shareholder and triggering a more than 25 per cent rise in the company’s shares.
Apr. 5: A day later, Mr. Musk is offered a seat on Twitter’s board on the condition he amasses no more than 14.9 per cent of the company’s stock. CEO Parag Agrawal says in a tweet that he’s “excited” and believes that Mr. Musk “would bring great value to our board”.
April 11: Mr. Agrawal announces that Mr. Musk has decided not to join Twitter’s board, but would “remain open to his input.”
Apr. 14: Mr. Musk offers to buy Twitter for US$41-billion, with the Tesla chief executive officer saying the social-media company needs to be taken private to grow and become a platform for free speech.
April 15: In an attempt to thwart a hostile takeover, Twitter announces a “poison pill” defence plan in response to Mr. Musk’s proposed offer.
Apr. 25: Mr. Musk clinches a deal to buy Twitter for $44-billion cash in a transaction that will shift control of the social media platform — populated by millions of users and global leaders — to the world’s richest person.
Apr. 29: Mr. Musk sells off around 9.6 million shares of Tesla stock – worth about $8.5-billion – to help fund the purchase of Twitter, according to regulatory filings.
May 10: Mr. Musk says he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump when he buys the social media platform, the clearest signal of the Tesla CEO’s intention to cut moderation of the site.
May 13: Mr. Musk says his deal to buy Twitter is “temporarily on hold” pending details on the amount of fake and spam accounts.
May 26: Twitter investors sue Mr. Musk, claiming he manipulated the company’s stock price downward, as the chief executive of Tesla mounts a $44-billion takeover bid for the social media platform.
Jun. 6: In a letter to Twitter, Mr. Musk warns he might walk away from his offer to acquire Twitter if the social media network fails to provide data on spam and fake accounts.
Jun. 16: In an unusual move, Mr. Musk meets virtually with the social platform’s employees to ease concerns about the takeover.
Jul. 8: Twitter sues Mr. Musk after the Tesla chief executive sends a letter to Twitter’s board saying he is terminating the acquisition.
Jul. 11: Shares of Twitter fall more than 9 per cent in the first day of trading after Mr. Musk says he’s abandoning his bid for the company.
July 12: Twitter sues Mr. Musk to force him to complete the deal. Musk soon countersues.
Jul. 26: Mr. Musk asks a judge to schedule a five-day trial beginning Oct. 17, not Oct. 10 as requested by Twitter Inc, to resolve his bid to walk away from his $44-billion deal to acquire the social media platform, according to court filings.
Aug. 15: Twitter needs to give Mr. Musk documents from a former Twitter executive who the Tesla CEO said was a key figure in calculating the amount of fake accounts on the platform, according to a court order.
Aug. 24: Twitter faces more employee departures, as leaders seek to address multiple challenges, including whistle-blower allegations and a legal battle with Mr. Musk. Employee attrition is currently 18.3 per cent.
Aug. 30: Mr. Musk files more paperwork in his bid to terminate the deal, this time based on information in a whistle-blower complaint filed by Twitter’s former head of security.
Sep. 12: A majority of Twitter’s shareholders vote in favour of the social media company’s sale to Mr. Musk.
Sep. 15: Mr. Musk accuses Twitter of fraud, claiming they concealed serious flaws in the social media company’s data security, which, the entrepreneur said, should allow him to end his deal, according to a court filing.
Sep. 25: Mr. Musk is scheduled to spend the next few days with lawyers for Twitter in a deposition, answering questions ahead of an October trial.
Oct. 4: Mr. Musk proposes to go ahead with his original offer of $44-billion to take Twitter Inc. private, signalling an end to a bitter legal battle that was about to go to trial.
Oct. 6: A judge delays a looming trial between Twitter and Mr. Musk, giving him more time to close the deal to buy the company after months spent fighting to get out of it.
Oct. 13: Mr. Musk is investigated by federal authorities over his conduct in his takeover deal for Twitter Inc, the social media company said in a court filing.
Oct. 26: Mr. Musk makes headlines for walking into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters with a sink. He posted a video clip of himself carrying the porcelain sink on Twitter, saying: “Let that sink in.” He also changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit.”
Oct. 27: Late at night, Elon Musk completes his US$44-billion acquisition, under the pressure of a court-ordered Oct. 28 deadline to close the deal. He immediately fires top Twitter executives.
MICHELLE DA SILVA AND ABIGALE SUBDHAN
The Globe and Mail, October 27, 2022