Elon Musk halts $44 billion Twitter deal

Elon Musk halts $44 billion Twitter deal

Elon Musk placed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter Inc. on hold on May 13, citing pending facts in support of the assumption that spam and false accounts represent fewer than 5% of users.

In premarket trading, shares of the social networking company fell 17.7 percent to $37.10, their lowest level since Mr. Musk declared his investment in the company in early April and then made a "best and final" bid to take it private for $54.20 per share.

On Tuesday, when Twitter shares fell below $46.75, the implied chance of the transaction completing at the agreed price fell below 50% for the first time.

Twitter claimed earlier this month that fake or spam accounts accounted for less than 5% of its monetisable daily active users during the first quarter, when 229 million users were served advertisements.

Elon Musk tweeted on Friday, "Twitter transaction currently on hold awaiting facts supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed constitute fewer than 5% of users."

Mr. Musk, the world's wealthiest man and a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, had said that removing "spam bots" from the platform would be one of his top goals. Twitter did not reply quickly to a request for comment. Representatives for Mr. Musk and Tesla, Inc., were not immediately available for comment.

The social media business had previously said that it faced various risks until the agreement with Mr. Musk was completed, including whether advertisers would continue to spend on Twitter in the face of "possible ambiguity over future intentions and strategy."

Elon Musk has been outspoken in his criticism of Twitter's moderation policies. He has said that he wants Twitter's algorithm to prioritise public tweets and that he is opposed to companies having too much control over the site. He said earlier this week that if he acquires Twitter, he would lift the restriction on former US President Donald Trump, suggesting his aim to reduce moderation on the platform.

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