New York (AFP) – Elon Musk threatened Monday to withdraw his bid to buy Twitter, accusing it of not providing details on fake accounts, in the latest twist in the Tesla billionaire’s bid to destroy the social network. to acquire.
Twitter has committed “a clear material breach” of its “obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves … his right not to complete the transaction,” according to a document filed with securities regulators.
The filing marks an escalation of Musk’s previous statements exposing fake accounts as a threat to his proposed $44 billion deal to take over Twitter.
The mercurial Musk reached a deal in late April to take over Twitter.
But the proposed sale has sparked outcry from critics who warn that his stewardship will encourage hate groups and disinformation campaigns.
US securities regulators have also urged Musk to explain an apparent delay in reporting his stock purchases on Twitter.
Musk started making a lot of noise about fake accounts in mid-May, saying on Twitter that he could end the transaction if his concerns were not allayed.
Some observers have seen Musk’s interrogation of Twitter bots as a means to end the takeover process, or to pressure Twitter into lowering the price.
Musk’s latest statement on bots indicates that he “intends to waive the deal,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said on Twitter Monday, noting that there is a $1 billion termination fee in the Twitter Musk- transaction.
“We continue to believe that Elon is playing hard… to gain leverage/options to either lower his bid price or even walk away completely if he gets cold feet,” said Angelo Zino of CFRA Research.
Twitter defended its responsiveness on Monday, promising to complete the deal.
“Twitter has and will continue to share information with Mr. Musk,” a spokesperson said. “We intend to complete the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”
Musk has said the actual number of bots could be four times higher than Twitter’s estimates.
Bots can be used on social media to spread false news or to misrepresent how widely information is consumed and shared.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has said that less than five percent of accounts active on Twitter on any given day are bots, but that analysis cannot be replicated externally due to the need to keep user data private.
But Musk rejected Twitter’s comments, reiterating that stance in Monday’s filing.
Musk’s attorney, Mike Ringler, said Twitter had failed to respond to Musk’s valid question about fake accounts, according to the filing.
“Mr. Musk has made it clear that he doesn’t believe the company’s lax testing practices are enough, so he needs to conduct his own analysis,” Ringler said. “The data he requested is needed to do that.”
To execute the deal, Musk must have “a complete and accurate understanding of the core of Twitter’s business model — its active user base,” the filing said.
“Mr. Musk believes that Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement.”
Shares of Twitter fell 2.2 percent to $39.28 shortly after noon.