In a letter to the regulators and to the board of directors at Twitter, Elon Musk has stated that he was entitled to measure just how bad the spam bot situation is at Twitter as part of his due diligence and that the social media platform is thwarting his requests to learn more about its user base.
Twitter’s Parag Agrawal and Elon Musk have been going back and forth over the issue of spam and the number of bots the platform has in its daily user base. Musk had earlier stated that the takeover deal is on hold, sparring over the issue, pending further investigation.
However, Musk’s letter formalizes the dispute that has been going on for weeks, and for the first time, Musk has gone on record to state that he is willing to walk away from the deal if Twitter interferes with his due diligence.
Elon Musk’s lawyer, Mike Ringler, wrote in the letter, “As Twitter’s prospective owner, Mr. Musk is entitled to the requested data to enable him to prepare for transitioning Twitter’s business to his own and to facilitate his transaction financing. To do both, he must have a complete and accurate understanding of the core of Twitter’s business model – its active user base.”
Twitter has always maintained that of its daily active users, about 5 percent of accounts are operated by bots. Although that number is pretty significant, Elon Musk and several notable crypto enthusiasts believe that the number of spambots is as much as 4 to 5 times higher than what Twitter claims.
Analysts have said the Tesla boss might use the issue to renegotiate the price or even walk away. They said Mr. Musk’s decision to raise the issue on social media was unconventional, making it difficult to establish how serious he was.
When Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal defended the company’s process in a series of tweets, Mr. Musk responded with a poo emoji.
Mr. Musk’s plans for the company have drawn intense scrutiny from regulators worldwide while raising some alarm among investors of electric car company Tesla and rocket firm SpaceX, which Mr. Musk also leads.
He has lined up outside investors to help pay for the takeover. He is also using equity and loans backed by his Tesla shares, which have been hit in recent weeks as market turmoil wipes billions from the values of companies, including Tesla.
The decline has also made Mr. Musk’s offer of $54.20 per share for Twitter look even more generous. On Monday, Twitter shares were trading below $39, down 3%, though they later regained some ground. They have yet to return to the highs they hit last month, shortly after Musk revealed he had purchased about 9% of the firm’s shares.
Several trade analysts and investment experts have stated that this may be a clever ruse deployed by Musk to get Twitter far cheaper than his initial offer of $54.20 per share. And given how badly tech stocks, particularly Twitter, are operating.