Elon Musk has sparked speculation that Twitter may seek to renegotiate the acquisition of Inc., saying the potential deal at a lower price is “beyond question.”
Shares of Twitter fell 8.2 percent at the close of trading in New York. The stock has fallen on speculation that Musk may pull out of the $ 44 billion acquisition. That concern has been heightened over the past week as Musk has questioned Twitter’s publicly released data on the percentage of spam and fake accounts on its social media service.
Musk also pressed Monday at the Miami Technology Conference, estimating that at least 20 percent of all Twitter accounts are fake users. This was the low end of his rating on the number of bots on the network, and according to a livestream video of his comments posted by a Twitter user, he asked rhetorically if it could be as high as 90%.
“What I’m being told right now is that there is no way to know the number of bots,” Musk told the conference. “It is as incomprehensible as the human soul.”
Twitter declined to comment. The San Francisco-based company reports that less than 5 percent of total users use spam accounts quarterly.
Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, said last week that his attempt to buy Twitter had been “suspended” and details on how many spam and fake accounts there were on the site were pending. Over the weekend, he tweeted that he plans to do his own analysis of Twitter’s user base using a random sample of 100 user accounts. Shortly afterwards, Musk said, Twitter’s legal team called to report that the company had breached their undisclosed agreement by publicly sharing the system.
Twitter CEO Barack Agarwal on Monday denied further details about the company’s approach to spam accounts in a series of tweets. Agarwal said Twitter manually checks thousands of accounts every quarter to count as spam, but said the process could not be conducted externally due to user privacy concerns.
Agarwal took to Twitter to “share an overview of the evaluation process with Elon a week ago”. Musk responded to the CEO’s tweet series, first asking why Twitter was not inviting users to verify their identities – and then by posting a boob emoji.
Musk spoke at a conference hosted by the podcast “All-In” hosted by Samad Palihapidia, Jason Galaganis, David Sox and David Friedberg. The event sold out for $ 7,500 per person, and organizers said journalists were excluded from attending. Musk appeared at the Miami summit via video conference.
The 50-year-old billionaire began buying shares in Twitter in January and issued a 9.2 percent stake in the company on April 4th. Twitter’s team accepted Musk’s $ 44 billion bid on April 25 to buy the company and take it privately, but the deal is still months away, and Twitter’s shares are trading far below the offer price.
The spread between Musk’s $ 54.20-a-share bid and Twitter’s share price continues to expand, with Elon Musk destroying all gains he has made since revealing his shares on the social media site.
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