A Twitter investor who claims Elon Musk’s on-again, off-again acquisition of the social media network and his public criticism of the business were intended to influence the stock price of the company has filed a lawsuit against the world’s richest man. According to Giuseppe Pampena, when Musk decided last week to proceed with buying Twitter for the agreed-upon amount, he “basically accepted that he had been bluffing all along” about wanting to back out of the agreement.
According to the securities class-action complaint filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, Musk’s claims and flip-flops over Twitter caused the company’s stock price to drop, harming investors while simultaneously strengthening Musk’s negotiating position.
In April, Musk proposed to purchase Twitter for $54.20 per share, or $44 billion, but then announced he was pulling out of the deal three weeks later.
The lawsuit claims that Musk then “proceeded to make statements, send tweets, and engage in conduct designed to raise a reasonable doubt about the transaction and substantially depress Twitter’s stock in order to create leverage that Musk hoped to use to either withdraw from the acquisition or re-negotiate the buyout price by as much as 25%, which, if accomplished, would result in an $11 billion reduction in the buyout consideration.” “Musk’s actions were unethical and deceitful.”
Throughout the Twitter buyout process, Musk has previously faced several legal challenges.
Outside of regular business hours, a request for comment was not immediately answered by a representative of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, the law firm that represents Musk in many legal disputes, including the purchase of Twitter.