Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Again.

The world’s richest man said on Twitter that he would like to move forward with the deal, which he first agreed to in April: It wants to pay $54.20 per share for the messaging service.

The difference between now and last spring, of course, is that in the meantime, Musk tried to back out of his signed contract to buy Twitter. And that Twitter is suing him to try to enforce that deal, and that both sides are currently in court preparing for a trial that’s scheduled to begin on October 17th — less than two weeks from now.

What changed? We don’t know yet. We know that Musk is unpredictable at best and that we shouldn’t take anything he says or does at face value. Even if both sides meet in a Delaware court on Tuesday to discuss the proposal, as reported by the New York Timesthat doesn’t mean it will pass or that he won’t have another conversion at some point.

Here, for the record, is Musk’s letter to Twitter promising to agree to the deal he previously tried to back out of, as long as the planned process stops.

In the meantime, let’s briefly recap how we got here and discuss the challenges Musk will face if he does end up owning Twitter.

The tl;dr background: Last spring, Musk, one of Twitter’s most prolific users, amassed a 9 percent stake in Twitter but said he had no plans to acquire the service. Then he agreed to join the company’s board, then decided he didn’t want to do that, and then announced he wanted to buy Twitter. The company first rejected his offer, then, after looking around for a better alternative, agreed to his terms.

Within weeks of that announcement, however, the tech stock market began to fall, as did the value of Tesla shares, the main source of Musk’s wealth. Then Musk, who had announced that one of his goals in acquiring Twitter was to rid it of the bots he believed were plaguing the service, began complaining that Twitter might have too many bots and that the deal “he could not go forward‘ until he gets more data about it. In July, Musk officially announced that he wanted out of the deal, and then Twitter is suing him for breach of contract.

The fact that Twitter was trying to force Musk to buy a company that didn’t initially want him as an owner, coupled with the fact that most legal experts believed Musk had a bad legal case, led to the conventional wisdom among tech watchers: At one point, Musk would settle with Twitter, pay some multi-billion dollar penalty, and walk away.

The current news eliminates that possibility for now. So we’re back to the question we started asking back in April: What will Musk do with Twitter if he actually owns it?

Remember, the reason Twitter is available for purchase in the first place is that the messaging service seems very important to at least some of its 238 million active users, but it has a business that’s nowhere near as big or valuable as, say, Meta.

So to change that—and make Twitter worth at least as much as the $44 billion Musk will pay to own the company—Musk will face big challenges: He’ll have to find a way to scale its user base, to reduce costs and generate more revenue.

But it became clear almost immediately that Musk didn’t have much more than a hunch about what he would do with Twitter if he owned it. Ann early offer he pitched to potential investors last spring included completely fanciful ideas like finding 750 million more users within a few years.

And last week’s release of text messages Musk received and sent last spring reinforced the notion that Musk, along with some of his wealthiest superfans, aren’t sure exactly how Musk is going to do all of this — they’re just sure that a man who pioneered electric cars and sending rockets into space and then landing them back on earth could easily Twitter decided.

Now – maybe – we’ll get a chance to see if they were right after all.

Update, October 6, 6:00 PM ET: The judge presiding over the upcoming trial against Twitter and Elon Musk, originally scheduled for October 17, postponed their launch to October 28. The judge warned that if Musk and Twitter did not reach a deal by then, the trial would be rescheduled for November.


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