It's a bang: With his abrupt change of heart in the takeover dispute over the short message service Twitter, Elon Musk has once again underlined his reputation for being unpredictable.
Musk now wants to buy the Internet company after all, at a price of $44 billion, which was agreed in April.
He announced this in a letter to Twitter without demanding any financial concessions.
Business correspondent in New York.
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Everything now indicates that, in addition to his duties as CEO of the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the space company SpaceX, he will also become the owner of one of the most well-known online platforms in the world.
And the court case that was supposed to hear the lawsuit filed against him by Twitter in July is unlikely to be necessary.
In the run-up to this trial, which was scheduled to begin on October 17, Musk was actually scheduled to testify on oath this week.
Takeover could happen very quickly
According to observers, the takeover could now be completed very quickly, all other requirements such as the approval of Twitter shareholders have been met.
Of course, there remains some uncertainty as to whether Musk might be trying to open backdoors, and in his letter he made it a prerequisite for the transaction to be completed that the legal dispute be ended.
Law professor Ann Lipton from Tulane University in New Orleans told the FAZ that she now thinks it is very likely that the transaction will go through, but that Twitter will do everything it can to ensure that there is no turning back for Musk before the lawsuit is dropped: "There is just a lot of mistrust between the two sides." Twitter itself has only said so far that it wants to continue the takeover as planned at the agreed price.
Musk's letter was also seen on the financial markets as a clear indication that the deal is now likely to go through.
Twitter's share price rose 22 percent to $52, not far below the agreed price of $54.20 per share.
Spam accounts as an excuse?
The proposed acquisition was announced in April, but Musk raised doubts about it after just a few weeks.
First he declared the agreement "temporarily suspended", then canceled it altogether.
He accused Twitter of violating clauses in the purchase agreement.
His main allegation was that the company underreported the proportion of "spam" or "fake" accounts that did not have real users.
Twitter then sued Musk in July to force the transaction to go through.
The company described Musk's argument using spam accounts as an excuse, saying he wanted to break the contract because the stock market environment had deteriorated and the value of his stake in Tesla, and thus his wealth, had shrunk significantly.
Legal experts initially rated Musk's chances of getting out of a binding purchase agreement as very slim, and in recent weeks it has appeared that his chances are further diminishing.
Judge Kathaleen McCormick, who is in charge of the case, has repeatedly ruled against Musk in pre-trial hearings.
The case also unearthed documents that were unflattering to him and those around him, including cellphone messages between him and other business figures such as Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner.
The affidavit this week might have brought more uncomfortable revelations.