Even by the standards of Twitter, a company that has known plenty of chaos and dysfunction in its history, the weeks-long effort by billionaire Elon Musk to buy the company has proven to be uniquely tumultuous — and there’s no clear end in sight.
After Musk recently said he was temporarily pausing the deal so he could assess the amount of spam and fake accounts, it prompted speculation that the billionaire might be looking to renegotiate the deal — or back out of it entirely. His actions in the days that followed only reinforced that thinking.
Here is a look back at the many twists and turns in one of the most high-profile tech deals in recent memory.
January 31: Musk begins building up his Twitter stake
Musk starts quietly buying up Twitter shares, building his stake in the company. But it would be months before he disclosed this fact to the public.
March 14: Musk’s Twitter stake tops 5%
March 24: Asking whether Twitter should change
March 26: Musk reaches out to Jack Dorsey
April 3: Twitter leadership meets to discuss Musk
In the meeting, the Twitter board discussed wanting Musk to agree to “‘standstill’ provisions”,” according to the filing. This would effectively “limit his public statements regarding Twitter, including the making of unsolicited public proposals to acquire Twitter (but not private proposals) without the prior consent of the Twitter Board.”
News of the purchase sends shares of the social media company soaring more than 20% in early trading and kicks off a wave of speculation about how Musk might push for changes on the platform.
April 5: Musk agrees to join the board
April 10: Just kidding. Musk ditches the board
The reversal opens the door for Musk to pursue a greater stake in the company — and frees him to tweet his many thoughts about the company.
April 14: Musk offers to buy Twitter and ‘unlock’ its potential
April 15: The poison pill
April 21: Musk lines up $46.5 billion in financing
The billionaire also reveals that he has not received a formal response from Twitter a week after his acquisition offer. He said he is “seeking to negotiate” a definite acquisition agreement and “is prepared to begin such negotiations immediately” — an apparent reversal from his statement in his acquisition offer letter that it would be his “best and final” offer.
Although he is the richest person in the world, much of Musk’s wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, and some followers of the company speculate that it could be challenging for Musk to raise debt against the historically volatile stock.
April 25: Twitter agrees to sell itself to Elon Musk
April 29: Musk cashes out billions in Tesla stock
May 4: With a little help from his billionaire friends
May 6: Musk’s lofty goals for Twitter, revealed
May 10: Musk says he would reinstate Trump’s account
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump, I think that was a mistake,” Musk said. “I would reverse the perma-ban. … Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice, it will amplify it among the right and this is why it’s morally wrong and flat out stupid.”
May 12: A partial hiring freeze and executive departures
May 13: Twitter deal ‘temporarily on hold’
“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted.
Later in the day, Musk says his team is testing Twitter’s numbers and “picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.”
May 14: Oops. NDA problems?
Musk tweets out that Twitter’s legal team accused him of breaking a nondisclosure agreement when the billionaire revealed the platform’s sample size for automated user checks is allegedly just 100 users.
May 16: Poop emoji
Musk follows up with a somewhat more thoughtful question. “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?” Musk asked. “This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he added.
May 17: Musk says Twitter deal ‘cannot move forward.’ Twitter disagrees
Later in the day, Musk posts a poll to his Twitter followers: “Twitter claims that >95% of daily active users are real, unique humans. Does anyone have that experience?” before calling on the SEC to evaluate the platform’s numbers. “Hello @SECGov, anyone home?” Musk tweets, in an apparent attempt to get the regulator to look into the matter.
In a statement, Twitter says it remains “committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable.” Later, the company says it intends to “enforce the merger agreement.”
June 6: A threat to walk away
In a letter to Twitter’s head of legal, Musk threatens to walk away from his purchase of the platform, alleging that Twitter is “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” as outlined by the deal.
In the letter, an attorney for Musk accuses the social media company of breaching the merger agreement by not providing the data he has requested on Twitter spam bots, stating that the lack of information gives him a right “not to consummate the transaction” and “to terminate the merger agreement.”
July 8: Actually trying to walk away
“For nearly two months, Mr. Musk has sought the data and information necessary to ‘make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform,'” the letter reads. “This information is fundamental to Twitter’s business and financial performance and is necessary to consummate the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement. … Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information.”
Twitter was not having it.
“The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement,” Twitter board chair Bret Taylor said in a tweet Friday, echoing earlier statements by the company that it planned to follow through with the deal. “We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.”
CNN’s Clare Duffy, Chris Isidore, Brian Fung, Rishi Iyengar, Brian Stelter and Allison Morrow contributed to this report.