DOVER, Del. (AP) — Newly leaked text messages between Elon Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal showed the two briefly bonded over Spring over their love of engineering — at least until Musk publicly tweeted this message early on April 9: “Is Twitter Dying?
It ruined a relationship that seemed to blossom when Twitter offered Tesla’s billionaire CEO a seat on the board after learning he had bought a huge stake in the company. In the texts, Agrawal asked Musk about his public criticism of Twitter, describing the comments as unnecessary and embarrassing within the company.
“What have you been doing this week?” Musk responded tersely less than a minute later. “I’m not joining the board. It’s a waste of time. Will make an offer to make Twitter private.
Messages revealed in documents filed in Delaware courts ahead of a high-stakes trial provide a window into Twitter’s delicate negotiations with Musk. At the time, the billionaire not only invested heavily in Twitter stock, he publicly offered ideas to improve it or launch an alternative.
Twitter and Musk are due in court on October 17 for a trial to decide whether the world’s richest man will be forced to complete his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. The documents were first revealed on @chancery_daily, a Twitter account that closely follows the Delaware Chancery Court, where the five-day trial will take place.
“I have a ton of ideas, but lmk if I push too hard,” Musk texted Agrawal on April 7, shortly after Twitter offered him the board seat. “I just want Twitter to be as amazing as it gets.”
Agrawal urged Musk to “treat me like an engineer” instead of a CEO as they worked on technical matters together. At one point, Musk wrote, “I love our conversations!”
Two days after Musk’s “dying Twitter” tweet exploded on April 11, Agrawal announced that Musk would ultimately not be joining the board. On April 14, Twitter revealed in a securities filing that Musk had offered to buy the company for around $44 billion. After initially trying to thwart the hostile takeover, Twitter ended up agreeing to the deal on April 25.
The text exchanges were included in redacted documents Musk’s lawyers filed early Thursday after challenging a claim by Twitter that they could not be made public because they contained sensitive information. Several of the “public versions” of these Twitter documents contain massive deletions and are almost completely obscured. The documents containing the texts of Musk and Agrawal, on the other hand, were not.
The collection of text messages also includes Musk’s conversations with Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey was enthusiastic about Musk’s involvement, telling him that while the board was “terrible”, Agrawal was an “incredible engineer”.
The texts also include Musk’s opinions on Twitter with a host of people in his orbit, including podcaster Joe Rogan, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, venture capitalists and Musk’s own brother.
As lawyers argue over which documents will be allowed as evidence at trial, more and more witnesses are showing up for depositions.
Among those deposed on Thursday was whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, a former Twitter security chief who testified in Congress earlier this month about what he described as Twitter’s weak cyber defenses. . Musk’s legal team hopes Zatko’s knowledge of Twitter’s issues with fake accounts and spam will bolster Musk’s key case for ending the deal.
Musk could be deposed as early as next week.
O’Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.