You know a divorce is getting messy when one side descends to accusations such as “your dad is an evil genius” and references to a “pile of turd”.
But when corporations split, titans of global industry are usually careful to wash their dirty linen in private.
So it was a surprise when the financier Nat Rothschild and a prominent Indonesian businessman, Aga Bakrie, engaged in a spectacular and very public bust-up on Twitter.
Yesterday saw the wealthy Bakrie family agree a deal to cut ties with London-based investors and buy back their stake in the mining firm Bumi.
Mr Rothschild, 42, who had helped to broker investments in the firm, then tweeted: “@agabakrie7 thanks for buying back a worthless pile of turd. I look forward to watching Bumi TBK trading to zero.”
He then told Mr Bakrie: “Whilst your dad is an evil genius (yes I’m paying Nirwan a compliment), the word on the street is that you are extremely DUMB!”
“Haha... ‘Dumb’ I believe that’s the word that has been associated with you by most of the people that i have met,” was Mr Bakrie’s best attempt at a comeback.
Mr Rothschild demanded to know why several Bakrie family firms were “trading at zero”. But Mr Bakrie replied: “Since they are all public company listed in Indonesian exchange, please buy 1 shares and address all question to management.”
He celebrated the return of Bumi to Indonesia, saying: “Protect Country resources from imperialist. Good bye London... It was a bittersweet experience.”
That provoked Mr Rothschild to further fury. “What about protect minority shareholders from Bakrie? Why is investing 1.2b [dollar] into Indo bad for Indonesia you dumb schmuck?!”
“Indonesia is an amazing investment haven... only bad when a minority try to take control by dirty trick,” Mr Bakrie responded.
“No family has done more to blacken Indonesia’s investment climate than yours,” Mr Rothschild hit back.
However, Mr Bakrie attempted to rise above the acrimony, tweeting: “Congrats on the separation, all the best for you. As we Indonesian say selamat malam pak [“good evening sir”] Nat.”