Elon Musk: ‘Significant’ Issues Holding Back Twitter Deal

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says there are several “significant” unresolved matters that are holding back his bid to buy Twitter.

The issues include the coming together of the debt part of the transaction, the outcome of a shareholder vote, and the number of spam users on the platform.

Musk, who has offered to buy Twitter in a transaction worth around $44 billion, made the remarks on Tuesday while speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha.

He was responding to questions about the status of the Twitter deal.

Musk teed up his response with the caveat that there are limits to what he can say publicly as it’s “somewhat of a sensitive matter” and that he wanted to reduce the risk of being sued.

“I would like to be measured in my responses here such as not to generate incremental lawsuits,” said Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, according to Forbes.

A group of Twitter shareholders last month filed a lawsuit against Musk and Twitter’s board over the deal.

They claim Musk violated California corporate laws and manipulated markets by sowing doubt over whether he’d finalize the purchase.

The lawsuit relates to Musk saying he was putting the Twitter acquisition on hold in order to find out more about inauthentic activity on the platform, including fake accounts.

Musk later accused Twitter of “resisting and thwarting” his ability to obtain information about bots on the platform, arguing it’s a “breach” of the terms of a purchase agreement he signed in April.

At the conference in Doha, a moderator asked Musk whether Twitter had provided him with “enough information.”

“We’re still awaiting resolution on that matter, and that is a very significant matter,” Musk replied, reiterating doubts over Twitter’s claims that fake accounts amount to fewer than 5 percent of the platform’s monetizable daily active users.

“And then, of course, there’s the question of, will the debt portion of the round come together?” he added.

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“And then will the shareholders vote in favor?”

In a securities filing on Tuesday (pdf), Twitter’s board recommended shareholders vote in favor of the deal.

Musk in May said his team wanted to carry out a random sampling to calculate the number of fake accounts on Twitter but the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, later said nonpublic information would be required to obtain an accurate count.

Some analysts have speculated that, with his demand for an accurate bot count, Musk was looking to negotiate better terms for the buyout.

Musk was also asked in Doha whether he would step into the role of Twitter CEO if his buyout bid proves successful.

“I would drive the product, which is what I do at SpaceX and Tesla. Whether I am called the CEO or something else is much less important,” he replied.

Musk’s response built on earlier remarks he made during an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees.

During the meeting, he said he doesn’t “really care” about holding the top title “but people do need to listen to me.”

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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