Elon Musk has sent a third letter to Twitter in an attempt to end his $44 billion acquisition of the company. Musk’s legal team cited Twitter’s multimillion-dollar severance payout to former security chief and whistleblower Peiter Zatko as a violation of the merger agreement and a reason to end the deal. ‘OK. The letter, dated September 9, was sent to Twitter’s chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, and was included in a filing by Twitter with the SEC on Friday (which you can read at the bottom of this article).
Zatko made headlines last month accusing Twitter of misleading investors about the number of bots on the service, failing to delete user data and having poor security practices, among other things. . Musk jumped on the charges, citing them in his second termination letter and subpoenaing Zatko to testify in the lawsuit. Zatko was due to be filed on Friday.
Elon Musk sent his first termination letter in July, saying Twitter misled him about the number of bots on its platform and that the company wouldn’t give him access to the information he needed to make his own decisions. . This despite the fact that he had access to the “firehose” API which contains each tweet.
Thursday, the the wall street journal reported that Twitter agreed to pay Zatko approximately $7 million before he left the company, in connection with the loss of compensation after he and the company negotiated a salary for months. Musk’s lawyers cite this as another reason why his deal to buy the social media company shouldn’t go through. The purchase agreement prohibits Twitter from providing unusual severance or termination benefits. According to Log, the settlement is not particularly strange, given that Zatko was an executive who was leaving the company, but it seems that Musk disagrees. (The letter also mentions that Musk didn’t hear about the separation agreement until Twitter filed it with the court.)
Whether Musk is actually allowed to terminate the deal is up to a Delaware court after Twitter sued Musk in July for trying to scrap the deal. Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick has already ruled that Musk will be allowed to use Zatko’s allegations to support his case, and that there will be a “limited” discovery of documents related to the whistleblower’s report. In August, Musk filed the second notice of termination, citing the original reports.
The trial is due to begin on October 17. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.