Elon Musk says Twitter deal ‘can’t move forward’ in current state

Elon Musk raised more questions about the future of his $44 billion Twitter acquisition on Tuesday, saying “this deal cannot move forward” until he gets more details about the volume of spam and fake accounts on the platform.

Musk, who is conducting a tweet-by-tweet public deal for the influential social media platform, has latched onto the fake account issue in recent days, in a move some analysts see as an attempt to scale back the takeover. price or abandon the deal altogether.

Twitter has long said in regulatory filings that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are fake, a figure Musk says is hard to believe. in a cheep Posted at 3:32 a.m. ET Tuesday, Musk said the figure could be well above 20 percent, without providing information to support the claim.

“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk said in the message.

Tuesday’s tweet was based on similar comments by Musk at a tech conference in Miami on Monday. Musk, the world’s richest man, said a Twitter deal at a lower price was “not out of the question” considering questions about spam and fake accounts, according to a person who attended the event.

Twitter shares fell 8 percent on Monday to close at $37.39. That’s well below the $54.20 a share Musk agreed to pay last month to buy the social media company. It’s also below where he traded Twitter before Musk initially revealed that he had bought a large stake in the company, the initial move in what has become an increasingly complicated acquisition saga.

In premarket trading, shares of Twitter fell further, falling more than 2 percent.

Musk, who also runs electric carmaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, has sparked confusion over the status of the deal. Last Friday, he tweeted that Twitter’s purchase of him was “temporarily on hold” until he was able to get more details about the volume of spam and fake accounts on the platform. She later went on to say that she was still “committed” to the deal.

Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter, published a lengthy thread in Monday detailing how the company calculates its number of bots. He said the company had shared an “overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago.” Mr. Musk responded to the thread with a poop emoji.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined to comment.

Stocks of tech companies have taken a beating since Musk first announced his acquisition of Twitter earlier this month. Tesla shares, which are Musk’s main source of wealth, have fallen nearly 30 percent.

Renegotiating a deal would not be easy. In addition to a $1 billion breakup fee, Musk’s deal with Twitter includes a “specific performance clause,” which gives the company the right to sue him and force him to complete the deal as long as the debt financing that you have cornered remains intact. .

But Musk has also created very public headaches for Twitter. During the weekend he tweeted that Twitter’s legal department had “called to complain” that he violated a confidentiality agreement discussing his bot’s sample size of 100. Musk’s agreement with Twitter also has a non-disparagement clause that prohibits him from tweeting negatively about the transaction.

The two sides have continued so far as if there was a deal. Teams from both sides held a previously scheduled meeting on Friday. (Twitter confirmed that the meeting was “part of the transaction planning process.”) On Friday, Bret Taylor, president of Twitter, tweeted: “We remain committed to our agreement.

mike isaac contributed report.

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