Elon Musk said he fears “we’re heading into World War III” and wanted to “slow down” his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, according to private texts that came to light in a hearing on Tuesday.
The text messages were sent on May 8th to a banker at Morgan Stanley, which is financing part of Musk’s deal.
In these texts, the billionaire also cited an upcoming speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin gave a speech on May 9th for Russia’s 77th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany. He said Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine in February was the “only right decision” and falsely claimed the West was “preparing for the invasion of Russia.”
“Let’s slow down just a few days,” Twitter’s lawyer said, reading out Musk’s texts during the hearing.
“Putin’s speech tomorrow is really important,” Musk had written. “It won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re heading into World War 3.”
Fear of World War an excuse for Musk to kill the Twitter deal?
Twitter’s lawyers did suggest that Musk was looking for reasons to kill the $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk signed an agreement to buy Twitter and take it private in April. When Musk said he was dropping the deal in July, Twitter almost immediately sued him to get him to enforce the contract in order to acquire it at the agreed-upon price.
Musk, who is the world’s richest person, cited a long-standing disagreement he has had with Twitter over the true number of spam and bot accounts on the social media platform.
Twitter asserts that fewer than five percent of all accounts on the site are fake, but the Tesla CEO claims that the real number could be around twenty percent without providing a source for the figure.