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Elon Musk changes his position and says he wants to buy Twitter after all


Elon Musk says he wants to buy Twitter after all. This after he spent the last five months trying to get out of a binding merger agreement. He also says he is willing to pay the same price he bid back in April, $44 billion. NPR's Raquel Maria Dillon asked, what's next?

RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, BYLINE: The billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX sent a letter. It basically said he'll buy Twitter if the company calls off the lawsuit it filed against him over the deal. That case is scheduled for trial in less than two weeks. The discovery period has been contentious, with few wins for Musk. Business law experts say Musk's arguments weren't all that strong in court. Here's Ann Lipton, law professor at Tulane.

ANN LIPTON: It was always a kind of kamikaze strategy for him to publicly attack the company, to accuse it of fraud, to accuse it, essentially, of being on its last legs because if he ends up buying it, now he's stuck with a company that he's made worse and is less valuable.

DILLON: Note that Lipton says if 'cause Twitter still needs to sign off on a settlement, and there's no trust left between the two parties here. Twitter is likely to ask the court to ensure that Musk won't try any funny stuff just to delay the trial. The company says it intends to close for what the parties agreed to back in April, $54.20 a share. But why would Musk flip-flop like this?

ANDY WU: Despite the battles over the last few weeks, I think his core network of advisers and friends still want him to do the deal at whatever price. It's not their money, per se, although in some cases, it is.

DILLON: That was Harvard Business School strategy professor Andy Wu. He says Musk is motivated by his belief in free speech principles, and his rich Silicon Valley friends can afford to invest in a struggling social media platform.

WU: I do think there is a broader social and political and ideological fight at stake here. And so really, the pricing is sort of arbitrary. It's $1 billion here and there.

DILLON: Wu notes that Musk doesn't have much experience managing organizational change. But if the deal closes, he'll finally be responsible for its policies and profitability, and he'll make Twitter do his bidding.

Raquel Maria Dillon, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Raquel Maria Dillon
Raquel Maria Dillon has worked on both sides of the country, on both sides of the mic, at Member stations and now as an editor with Morning Edition. She specializes in documenting wildfires and other national disasters, translating the intricacies of policy into plain English and explaining the implications of climate change.