In a new tweet fired at Twitter before market open, Elon Musk has reiterated that his $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform is on hold over the issue of spambots.
But now he's tacitly accusing the company of lying over the proportion of fake/spam accounts on the platform, claiming its CEO "publicly refused to show proof of <5%".
Musk has also set what sounds like an outright ultimatum -- writing: "This deal cannot move forward until he does."
He further suggests the platform could have more than 20% fake/spam accounts, linking to a report on comments he made in Miami on Monday saying he believes a fifth of Twitter accounts are fake/spam bots.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022
The tweet looks designed to pile yet more pressure on Twitter's management which has already suffered the indignity of having Musk tweet a poo emoji at CEO Parag Agrawal (see our earlier report) in very public discussion about the spambot issue, among other Musk-generated 'noise'.
With this latest Twitter CEO-targeting tweet, the shitposting billionaire may be engaging in more trollfaced bullyboy tactics -- by seeking to drum up more negative publicity (on Twitter) that's intended to hammer Twitter's stock price -- in a bid to force the company to accept a lower offer, if only to get him to shut up.
Or, well, he's looking for a way to exit the deal entirely.
At the time of writing Twitter's share price was down a further 2.75% pre-market. The stock has slid in recent weeks as Twitter grapples with Musk-shaped bumps in the road, from a high of around $50 at the time his offer was accepted to a low of around $37 now.
Let's hope the mafia isn't taking notes from Musk's playbook on 'the power of a social media megaphone platform'.
It's notable that the Tesla CEO waived his right to do due diligence when he agreed to buy Twitter last month -- presumably to encourage Twitter to accept what he'd couched as his "best and final offer" after its board initially sought to evade the takeover. So whinging about the percentage of bots he's buying now is either stupidity or calculated stupidity.
Although his urging that Twitter open itself to "external validation" on the bot detection issue could at least endear him to the independent research community.
Seems like Twitter should welcome external validation if their claims are true
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022
Musk also agreed to a non-disparagement clause as part of the deal to buy Twitter. But apparently he doesn't understand what that word means. Or, else, he continues to act as if binding legal agreements simply don't apply to him.
Twitter was contacted for comment on Musk's latest accusations. At the time of writing it had not responded but Bloomberg has just tweeted that the company told it it remains "committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable".
The company has also filed a preliminary proxy statement on the acquisition, further suggesting it's committed to the deal as agreed.
In its recommendation to shareholders, the board writes:
"The Twitter Board unanimously recommends that you vote: (1) “FOR” the adoption of the merger agreement; (2) “FOR” the compensation that will or may become payable by Twitter to our named executive officers in connection with the merger; and (3) “FOR” the adjournment of the special meeting, from time to time, to a later date or dates, if necessary or appropriate, to solicit additional proxies if there are insufficient votes to adopt the merger agreement at the time of the special meeting."
The document also sets out the conditions under which the acquisition deal may be terminated -- which include by mutual agreement; or by ether party if the deal has not closed by 5pm PT October 24, 2022 (barring an applicable extension of this date, such as to obtain regulatory clearances); or if the deal fails to gain shareholder backing.
Per the filing, Musk's options for backing out of the deal look limited -- but should he find a valid (legal) way to do so he may be on the hook for a $1BN break up fee.