Ari Emanuel, the legendary Hollywood agent who is CEO of Endeavor, reportedly got involved in the dispute between Twitter and Elon Musk over Musk’s attempt to nix his takeover of the company — but it’s not exactly clear why.
Within the “past few weeks,” Emanuel had reached out to Twitter board member Egon Durban to suggest the social network work with Musk to “find a solution” to their legal fight ahead of a trial scheduled to commence Oct. 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, according to a report by Bloomberg Law citing anonymous sources.
Emanuel has ties to both Durban and Musk. Durban, co-CEO of tech investment firm Silver Lake, currently sits on Endeavor’s board. Musk had been on Endeavor’s board of directors before resigning in March 2022.
Twitter and Silver Lake declined to comment. Reps for Endeavor did not respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg Law did not have details about Emanuel’s motive for inserting himself into the Twitter-Musk drama, speculating that Emanuel may be “operating at the behest of Musk” or that he is “trying to resolve a high-stakes dispute involving two allies.”
For now, Musk is headed toward a court trial to fight Twitter’s demand that he close the deal at the $54.20/share price that he previously agreed on.
Lawyers for Musk, who is the world’s richest person and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, have notified Twitter on three separate occasions that he believes Twitter has breached the terms of the acquisition agreement. Each time, Twitter has responded that Musk’s objections are “invalid and wrongful.”
The Musk team first told Twitter in July that he was exiting the deal because the company allegedly could not prove its claim that spam and fake accounts are less than 5% of active users. In a letter last month, Musk’s lawyers cited allegations by with Peiter “Mudge” Zatko — its former head of security who was fired in January — about security deficiencies and other problems at Twitter as additional evidence that the pact to buy Twitter was null. In a Sept. 9 letter to Twitter, Musk’s lawyers cited its severance payments to Zatko and his counsel totaling $7.75 million, which they claimed violated a provision of the acquisition agreement under which Twitter agreed to not “grant or provide any severance or termination payments or benefits” without first getting approval from Musk.
Twitter sued Musk, seeking to enforce the buyout deal. A judge in the Delaware Court of Chancery set a five-day trial to hear Twitter’s case against Musk starting Oct. 17.
Musk was originally enthusiastic about the prospect of owning Twitter, floating ideas like authenticating all users and charging businesses to use the social network. Twitter’s lawyers have alleged Musk got cold feet after his personal net worth dropped with the decline in Tesla’s stock price.
Twitter investors obviously want Musk to keep his word and pay the $44 billion he promised. At a special meeting of Twitter shareholders, investors overwhelmingly voted in favor of approving Musk’s takeover.