Musk Twitter takeover in jeopardy due to spam data: Reports
Twitter not being transparent enough with how many spam accounts its platform hosts could deter Elon Musk from moving forward with the deal.
Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk's takeover of social media company Twitter is threatened by unverifiable data about the number of spam accounts the platform has, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the deal between Musk and the firm.
Discussions by Musk's team on funding the $44 billion deal have been suspended due to the buyers' concerns about the verifiability of the figures Twitter provided on the number of spam accounts on the platform, the report said.
Musk's legal team had warned last month that he could walk away from the negotiations table over acquiring Twitter if the big tech firm continues dismissing his demands to be more explicit about the number of fake and spam accounts on the platform. The news of the entrepreneur potentially dropping the deal caused Twitter shares to dip by 5%.
Tesla CEO's legal team argued that the Twitter board, failing to provide him with more detailed information on fake and spam accounts, constituted a breach of the agreement between Musk and other investors to take over the big tech firm.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said research showed that "well under 5%" of his platform's users over the last four quarters have been spam or fake accounts as Musk contends that the number is much greater.
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The billionaire seeking to acquire the platform claims that the number he was provided was false, refusing to accept it and saying that his offer to take over Twitter was "temporarily on hold" until the issue is resolved. This position was further bolstered by the filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which showed that he was not budging.
Musk could take drastic action and later alter the course of the negotiations, one source said, but a pullout from the deal would cost him a whopping $1 billion, which is more than likely to lead to lawsuits.
Twitter could try to lock Musk into the purchase if they can prove the cancellation is not related to the company’s core business, the report added.
Musk had reached a deal in April to buy Twitter at $54.20 a share, putting the deal's value at $44 billion. But weeks later, he said the deal could not progress until the platform proves that less than 5% of its users were spam accounts or fake.
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Twitter, on the other hand, has not been cooperating with Musk on the issue, another source said.
The news of the settlement came to fuel Musk's hopes to make the deal less costly, while Twitter officials stated that they planned on moving forward with the deal.
At the Qatar Economic Forum in late June, Musk said he was optimistic about the deal moving forward despite the unresolved issues inhibiting it, as well as his ability to bolster free speech and inclusiveness on Twitter as its leader.