Twitter shares fell around 4% in early trading on Friday following a report by The Washington Post who said billionaire Elon Musk’s deal to buy the company is “in serious jeopardy”. The title had also fallen sharply on Thursday.
The deal was already in uncertain territory, according to Musk, after asking for more information about the percentage of spam accounts on the platform. But the Post, citing an unnamed source, said Musk’s team had stopped engaging in funding discussions for the $44 billion deal. Musk’s team determined they couldn’t verify the numbers from Twitter’s spam account and they’re now set to make “a change of direction soon,” the Post reported.
Musk can’t just pay the billion dollar severance fee and walk away. Twitter may try to keep Musk on the original terms by claiming the reasons for his removal are unrelated to his core business.
Twitter held a virtual briefing with reporters on Thursday to explain how it determines which accounts on its platform are bots or spam accounts.
The company said trained workers use internal data and signals to arrive at the figure that less than 5% of its monetizable daily active users each quarter are spam accounts. Musk complained the number was much higher and threatened to walk away from his deal to buy the company for $44 billion until he got confirmation of Twitter’s bot percentage.