Elon Musk raised additional doubts about the way forward for his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Tuesday, saying “this deal cannot move forward” till he will get more particulars concerning the quantity of spam and pretend accounts on the platform.
Mr. Musk, who’s finishing up a public tweet-by-tweet negotiation for the influential social media platform, has latched onto the problem of pretend accounts in latest days, in a move that some analysts determine is an try and drive down the acquisition worth or stroll away from the deal altogether.
Twitter has lengthy stated in regulatory filings that fewer than 5 p.c of its accounts are pretend — a determine that Mr. Musk says is difficult to consider. In a tweet revealed at 3:32 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, Mr. Musk stated the determine could possibly be properly above 20 p.c, without offering info to assist the declare.
“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Mr. Musk stated within the message.
The tweet on Tuesday constructed off related remarks by Mr. Musk at a know-how convention in Miami on Monday. Mr. Musk, the world’s richest man, stated hanging a deal for Twitter at a lower cost was “not out of the question” contemplating the questions on spam and pretend accounts, in keeping with an individual who attended the occasion.
Twitter’s shares fell 8 p.c on Monday to shut at $37.39. That is much under the $54.20 a share that Mr. Musk agreed to pay final month to purchase the social media firm. It can also be under the place Twitter traded earlier than Mr. Musk initially revealed that he had purchased an enormous stake within the firm, the opening move in what has develop into an more and more convoluted takeover saga.
In premarket buying and selling, Twitter’s shares slipped additional, falling more than 2 p.c.
Mr. Musk, who additionally leads the electrical automaker Tesla and rocket firm SpaceX, has unleashed confusion over the state of the deal. Last Friday, he tweeted that his buy of Twitter was “temporarily on hold” till he might get more particulars concerning the quantity of spam and pretend accounts on the platform. He later adopted up saying he was nonetheless “committed” to the deal.
Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief government, posted a prolonged thread on Monday detailing how the corporate calculates its variety of bots. He stated the corporate had shared an “overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago.” Mr. Musk responded to the thread with a poop emoji.
Mr. Musk didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Twitter declined to remark.
Tech firm shares have taken a beating since Mr. Musk first introduced his acquisition of Twitter earlier this month. Shares of Tesla, that are Mr. Musk’s important supply of wealth, have fallen nearly 30 p.c.
Renegotiating a deal would not be easy. In addition to a $1 billion breakup charge, Mr. Musk’s deal with Twitter features a “specific performance clause,” which provides the corporate the fitting to sue him and power him to finish the deal as long as the debt financing he has corralled stays intact.
But Mr. Musk has additionally created very public complications for Twitter. Over the weekend, he tweeted that Twitter’s authorized division had “called to complain” that he violated a nondisclosure settlement discussing its bot pattern measurement of 100. Mr. Musk’s deal with Twitter additionally has a nondisparagement clause that prohibits him from tweeting negatively concerning the transaction.
The two sides have up to now continued as if there’s a deal. Teams for either side held a beforehand scheduled assembly on Friday. (Twitter confirmed the assembly was “part of the transaction planning process.”) On Friday, Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chairman, tweeted: “We remain committed to our agreement.”
Mike Isaac contributed reporting.