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Musk cited possible “World War III” as reason to break Twitter deal, text shows

Enlarge / Elon Musk arrives for the 2022 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2022, in New York. (credit: Getty Images | Angela Weiss)

Two weeks after Elon Musk made a commitment to buy Twitter for $44 billion, he wrote in a May 8 text message to one of his Morgan Stanley bankers that he was thinking of exiting the merger agreement due to the possibility of World War III.

“Let’s slow down just a few days. Putin’s speech tomorrow is really important. It won’t make sense to buy Twitter if we’re heading into World War III,” Musk wrote to Morgan Stanley’s head of global technology investment banking, Michael Grimes. Twitter lawyer Bill Savitt read the text out in a court hearing yesterday, multiple news reports said. In the May 9 speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his invasion of Ukraine. The invasion began in February, two months before Musk’s April 25 agreement to buy Twitter.

While Twitter called the Musk text a “money quotation,” Musk lawyer Alex Spiro “said the characterization of the texts in court was ‘utter nonsense as the full text chain shows.’ The full text chain is expected to be filed on the court docket next week,” Business Insider wrote. Spiro also “responded by saying that any businessman would be anxious about the impact of a potential war on the stock market,” The Wall Street Journal wrote.

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