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Elon Musk may cancel Twitter deal

Elon Musk said on Tuesday his $44-billion offer would not move forward until Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) shows proof that spam bot accounts are less than 5% of its total users.

This comes hours after suggesting he could seek a lower price for the company.

“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5% (spam accounts). This deal cannot move forward until he does,” Musk said in a tweet.

Elon Musk
@elonmusk
20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be much higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.

Hours later, Twitter said it was committed to completing the deal at the agreed price and terms “as promptly as practicable.”

Twitter’s stock pared losses in premarket trading, but was down about 3% at $36.31, lower than its price on the day before Musk disclosed his Twitter stake, raising doubts if the billionaire entrepreneur would proceed with his offer of $54.20 per share.

Musk said he suspected bot accounts accounted for at least 20% of users compared with Twitter’s official estimate of 5%.

“You can’t pay the same price for something that is much worse than they claimed,” he said on Monday at the All-In Summit 2022 conference in Miami.

Asked if the deal would be viable at a different price, Musk said, “I mean, it is not out of the question. The more questions I ask, the more my concerns grow.”

“They claim that they have got this complex methodology that only they can understand… It cannot be some deep mystery that is, like, more complex than the human soul or something like that.”

Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal tweeted on Monday that internal estimates of spam accounts on the social media platform for the last four quarters were “well under 5%,” responding to Musk’s criticism of the company’s handling of phony accounts.

Twitter’s estimate, which has stayed the same since 2013, could not be reproduced externally given the need to use both public and private information to determine if an account is spam, Agrawal said.

Musk responded to Agrawal’s defense of the methodology with a poop emoji. “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he wrote.

Musk has pledged changes to Twitter’s content moderation practices, railing against decisions like its ban of former President Donald Trump as overly aggressive while pledging to crack down on “spam bots”.

Reuters