Updated at 3:13 pm EST
Twitter (TWTR) - shares extended declines Wednesday, falling well below the level Elon Musk has agreed to pay for the social media website, as investors continue to question terms of the Tesla (TSLA) - CEO's $44 billion takeover.
published late Tuesday indicate that Musk, by some measures the world's richest man, will be required to pay a $1 billion termination fee if his effort to buy Twitter and take it private fails.
Twitter is also required to pay Musk a similar amount, the filings indicated, although both sides will have the option of walking away if the takeover isn't completed by October 24. Twitter is also able to accept -- but not solicit -- a superior bid to Musk's if one is proposed.
Musk may have also breached terms of what is now a merger agreement with Twitter when he Tweeted criticism of the company's decision to censor pre-election reports on Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, and his linked to business leaders in China and Ukraine.
"The Equity Investor shall be permitted to issue Tweets about the Merger or the transactions contemplated hereby so long as such Tweets do not disparage the Company or any of its Representatives," terms of the merger indicated.
He doubled-down on that risk with another message to his 83 million followers, alleging that former President Donald Trumps 'Truth Social' media group "exists because Twitter censored free speech."
Curiously, Musk's latest Tweet came just hours after a Federal Judge admonished the billionaire's attempt to nullify a 2018 agreement with the SEC that demanded oversight of his Twitter communications that could be material to Tesla shareholders by company officials.
"Musk cannot now seek to retract the agreement he knowingly and willingly entered by simply bemoaning that he felt like he had to agree to it at the time but now -- once the specter of the litigation is a distant memory and his company has become, in his estimation, all but invincible -- wishes that he had not, " Manhattan District Judge Lewis Liman wrote Wednesday.
Investors have also questioned the impact of Tesla's steep decline -- its shares have tumbled 21.5% since Musk made his 'passive' stake in Twitter public on April 4 -- on Musk's ability, or indeed willingness, to finance the $21 billion he's required to raise to complete the $44 billion purchase.
Twitter shares were marked 2.3% lower in late afternoon trading, against a 0.2% gain for the Nasdaq benchmark, to change hands at $48.54 each, a move that leaves the stock some 10.4% south of Musk's 'best and final' offer of $54.20 each.
Tesla shares were last seen 0.7% higher -- following yesterday's 12.9% slump -- to change hands at $882.40 each.
Twitter will publish its March quarter earnings after the close of trading Thursday, with analysts looking for a bottom line of 3 cents per share on revenues of $1.23 billion.