TWTR Stock: Elon Musk Cites Whistleblower Severance as Latest Reason to Drop Twitter Deal


  • Musks believes that a severance payment to Twitter (TWTR) whistleblower Peiter Zatko violated the terms of his acquisition.
  • Twitter responded, calling the attempt to back out “invalid and wrongful.”
  • Share of TWTR stock are down about 3% year-to-date.
TWTR stock - TWTR Stock: Elon Musk Cites Whistleblower Severance as Latest Reason to Drop Twitter Deal

Source: Rokas Tenys /

Social media platform Twitter’s (NYSE:TWTR) stock is back in the spotlight following yet another attempt by Elon Musk to terminate his acquisition of the company. Musk previously sought to terminate the transaction due to bot accounts. Twitter has stated that bots make up less than 5% of its more than 230 million users, while the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO believes that the figure is higher.

On Friday, Musk’s lawyers stated that Twitter violated the agreement between the two parties by paying Twitter whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko $7.75 million as part of an employee separation agreement. The lawyers argued that Twitter must notify Musk before any money is paid out. Zatko will appear in a Senate committee hearing next week to discuss security issues and bots on the platform. He has also received a subpoena to testify in the Twitter lawsuit that starts on Oct. 17 at Delaware’s Chancery court.

Musk has now accused Twitter of violating the $54.20 per share buyout agreement three times.

TWTR Stock: Musk Accuses Twitter of Violating Agreement

In response, Twitter stated that its payment to Zatko did not violate any aspect of the agreement. The company also stated that Musk’s attempt was “invalid and wrongful.” TWTR shareholders will vote tomorrow at a special meeting on whether or not they approve of Musk’s buyout. The shareholders are expected to vote in favor.

Musk first attempted to terminate the agreement in July, arguing that Twitter misrepresented the amount of spam and bot accounts on its platform. Twitter then subsequently sued the billionaire, believing that Musk used the pretext of spam accounts because he had developed buyer’s remorse. In the same month, Zatko filed a whistleblower disclosure to several government agencies stating that he believed Twitter had misled Musk on its bot figure. He also accused the social platform of violating a 2011 consent order related to the protection of user data. Zatko was let go by Twitter this January, where he served as the head of security.

Twitter is currently trading near $41.50, so a forced acquisition at $54.20 would imply an upside of about 30%. All eyes are on TWTR stock as we head closer to the lawsuit’s trial date.

On the date of publication, Eddie Pan did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Eddie Pan specializes in institutional investments and insider activity. He writes for InvestorPlace’s Today’s Market team, which centers on the latest news involving popular stocks.

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