Elon Musk said Friday he has suspended his long-awaited deal to buy Twitter by sending shares to the social media giant.
Musk, the richest man in the world and the founder of the automaker Tesla, made the elimination of spam accounts and bots one of the highlights of his proposed takeover of Twitter for $ 44 billion.
When the deal was announced in late April, he said he wanted to make Twitter “better than ever” by “defeating spam bots and verifying all people.”
But on Friday, he wrote: “The deal with Twitter has been suspended until we receive details confirming the calculation that spam / fake accounts actually represent less than 5% of users.”
Two hours after his first tweet, Musk took to the platform again to say he was “still looking to acquire”.
Reliable numbers of users are considered vital for estimating future revenue streams.
Twitter did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
– “Horror Show” –
In his Twitter, Musk refers to an article from May 2, in which he refers to the latest statement of Twitter in the US regulator.
The statement said an internal audit found that there were 229 million “monetized daily active users” on Twitter in the first quarter of this year, and only five percent were considered fake or spam accounts.
Analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush said the “circus show” on Twitter is likely to turn into a “horror show on Friday the 13th.”
“The nature of Mask, which creates so much uncertainty in the tweet (rather than in the feed), is very troubling,” he said.
Wall Street investors are likely to interpret the tweet as an attempt by Mask to exit the deal or an attempt to force a price cut, Ives said.
Market analyst Susanne Streeter of Hargreaves Landsdown said the takeover bid was bumpy but is now “at risk of skidding.”
An initial announcement on Friday saw Twitter shares fall 20 percent in early e-trading before the opening of Wall Street, but Tesla shares rose.
– “False and deception” –
Musk is the head of both Tesla and SpaceX, and, according to Forbes, is valued at $ 240 billion.
But his style of ownership – particularly his use of Twitter – often led him into hot water with the authorities.
He has been embroiled in legal issues since he tweeted in 2018 that he had enough money to make Tesla private – a statement that a judge last month found “false and misleading”.
His potential management of the social networking platform suffered several blows after the capture attempt was unveiled, not least regarding Donald Trump’s future status.
The former US president was expelled from Twitter and other social networks after the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
On Wednesday, Musk said he would be ready to lift the ban on Trump’s account.
Activist groups responded by urging advertisers to boycott the platform if Musk opened the gates to insulting and misinforming messages.