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Twitter posts $270M quarterly loss amid tussle with Elon Musk

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Twitter reported a quarterly loss Friday as revenue slipped even as its number of users climbed.

The social media company’s latest quarterly earnings figures offered a glimpse into how the social media business has performed during a months-long negotiation with billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk over whether he will take over the company.

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The company lost $270 million in the April-June period after revenue slipped 1 percent to $1.18 billion, reflecting advertising industry headwinds, as well as “uncertainty” over Musk's acquisition bid.

The number of daily active users rose 16.6 percent to 237.8 million compared with the same period a year before.

Twitter chalked up the gains to “ongoing product improvements and global conversation around current events.”

Overshadowing Twitter’s latest sales results is its legal fight with Musk to make good on his April promise to buy the company for $44 billion. Twitter last week sued Musk to complete the deal and both sides are bracing for an October courtroom trial to resolve the dispute.

Given the pending acquisition, Twitter said it wouldn’t hold its usual quarterly earnings conference call or issue a shareholder letter.

The April-June fiscal quarter encompassed a tumultuous three months for Twitter, starting with the April 4 disclosure that Musk had acquired a huge stake in the company, paving the way for his takeover bid later that month. It didn’t take long for the relationship to fray as Musk publicly tweeted his concerns about Twitter and its employees and signaled he was having second thoughts. Twitter argued in court that Musk’s actions in and his “repeated disparagement of Twitter and its personnel” created uncertainty that harmed Twitter’s business operations, employees and stock price.

It called for an expedited trial so the company could carry on with important business decisions, while Musk sought to wait until next year because of the complexity of the case and his demands for more of Twitter’s internal data about how it counts fake and automated “spam bot” accounts — which he’s cited as a chief reason for trying to terminate the deal.

A judge this week set the trial for October, siding with Twitter’s concerns that too much delay could cause the company irreparable harm. It will be held in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, which handles many high-profile business disputes, unless Musk and Twitter settle the case before then.

Shares slid 2 percent before the opening bell Friday.

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