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Elon Musk-Twitter saga: A look at the major players

The clock is ticking for Tesla CEO Elon Musk to close his Twitter acquisition and avoid a looming legal trial over previous efforts to walk away from the $ 44 billion deal.

The Delaware Court of Chancery has given Musk until Oct. 28 to close the deal. If he is unable to reach an agreement with Twitter, the trial, which was originally scheduled to begin on Oct. 17, will be moved to November.

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With Twitter in legal limbo, other social media sites, including Parler, are revving up competition after Kanye West, now going by Ye, announced plans to buy the platform after being booted off Twitter for alleged antisemitic remarks.

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FOX Business has a roundup of the major players in the case who will help determine Twitter’s future.

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Elon Musk

In April, Musk entered an agreement to purchase the social media giant and take it private at $ 54.20 per share. The move came after Musk acquired a 9.2% stake in Twitter and criticized the company’s approach to free speech.

In July, he notified Twitter that he was planning to terminate the deal after claiming the company breached its obligations by misrepresenting the number of spam and fake accounts on the platform. Twitter maintains that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of its total users.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk entered an agreement in April 2022 to buy Twitter and take it private. (Patrick Pleul / picture alliance via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In response, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk, accusing him of refusing to honor his obligations under the agreement because “the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.” Musk proceeded to file a countersuit, which was amended last month to include allegations from whistleblower and former Twitter security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko.

In October, Musk reversed course and said he would follow through on the deal’s original terms, pending receipt of the deal’s debt financing and provided that the Delaware Court of Chancery stayed Twitter’s lawsuit and adjourned the legal trial.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal

Parag Agrawal took over as Twitter’s chief executive officer following the departure of co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.

Following his appointment, Musk tweeted a meme depicting Agrawal as Joseph Stalin and Jack Dorsey as Nikolai Yezhov, a Stalin associate who was assassinated under his direction. Agrawal previously faced criticism for a comment in which he said the social media giant’s role is “not to be bound by the First Amendment.”

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal

Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter, attends the Allen and Company Sun Valley Conference on July 6, 2022, in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images / Getty Images)

Following Musk’s interest in conducting an external review to determine the total number of spam and fake accounts on Twitter, Agrawal issued a lengthy thread about the company’s internal review process and said it would be difficult to conduct an external review given the “critical need to use both public and private information. “

Musk’s countersuit has accused Agrawal and other Twitter executives of misleading the board and investors about its efforts to contain spam and fake accounts. Musk also accuses Agrawal of covering up the company’s security flaws disclosed by Zatko.

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Twitter former security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko

Twitter’s former security chief, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, filed a whisteblower complaint with several agencies, accusing the company’s executives of misleading the board, shareholders and federal regulators about “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its cybersecurity defenses. He also claimed that Twitter executives are “not incentivized to accurately ‘detect’ or report total spam bots on the platform.”

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, Zatko claimed that Twitter was “over a decade behind industry security standards” when he joined the company and that foreign agents are “on the payroll” and can access user data.

A former Twitter employee testifies

Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko testifies to a Senate Judiciary hearing examining data security at risk on Sept. 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin / AP Newsroom)

Twitter, which fired Zatko in January for “ineffective leadership and poor performance,” has said Zatko’s allegations are “riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and lack important context.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey

Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006 and stepped down from the chief executive officer role in November 2021, exchanged several texts with Musk prior to his $ 44 billion offer.

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk contacted Dorsey on March 26 to discuss the future direction of social media, including the benefits of “open social protocols.” He also reached out on May 5 to discuss Dorsey’s possible contribution of shares in order to retain an equity investment in Twitter following the transaction’s completion.

Jack Dorsey tweeted

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., listens during the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami on June 4, 2021. (Eva Marie Uzcategui / Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In August, Dorsey tweeted that his biggest regret was that Twitter became a company. He added that he wished Twitter would’ve become “a protocol” and that it definitely “can’t be owned by a state, or company.” When asked by a Twitter user if it’s too late to turn the company into an open protocol, Dorsey responded: “Nope!”

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Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick

Kathaleen McCormick is the judge overseeing Musk and Twitter’s trial.

McCormick, who joined the Delaware Court of Chancery in November 2018, was sworn in as chancellor on May 6, 2021.

Delaware Court of Chancery staff

Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, center, is the judge overseeing Musk’s and Twitter’s trial. (Delaware Court of Chancery)

Prior to joining the court, McCormick was a partner in the Delaware law firm Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP, where she focused her practice on litigating internal governance and corporate disputes, primarily in the Court of Chancery. Before entering private practice, McCormick was a staff attorney with the Community Legal Aid Society Inc.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison contributed $ 1 billion to Musk’s Twitter acquisition in May, becoming his biggest private equity partner for the deal.

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Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison gives a demonstration during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco on Sept. 30, 2014. (Reuters / Robert Galbraith / Reuters Photos)

Other private equity partners included Sequoia Capital, VyCapital, cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Andreesen Horowitz Capital Management, Fidelity and Brookfield Asset Management.

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