Give so much credit to Elon Musk: He’s persistent.
As his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter becomes less attractive amid a bumpy ride for tech stocks, the Tesla chief executive continues to indicate that he is eager to renegotiate the deal.
Over the weekend, a “social media influencer” named Ian Miles Cheong tweeted That “if 25% of users are bots then the cost of the Twitter acquisition deal should be 25% less.”
“of course,” Musk replied,
This is in line with Musk’s recent tweets that suggested he bought a pig in a jiffy because he had no idea there could be multiple fake accounts on the social-media platform.
It seems he is sending a message to both Twitter’s board and the financial markets that he was misled into thinking that Twitter’s user base is bigger than it actually is.
The problem with Musk’s seemingly negotiating strategy is that it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
For years, Twitter has said in regulatory filings that it believes only 5% of accounts are fake — or “bots” — but the actual percentage may be higher.
If Musk had done his due diligence before agreeing to a $44 billion purchase price, he would have known that the number of fake accounts is a moving target.
It’s unclear whether Musk is actually surprised to learn this or if he’s simply using the bots’ case as a way to renegotiate or walk away from the deal.
Either way, Twitter has announced that the terms of the deal are the terms of the deal, and it has no intention of getting Musk off the hook.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Twitter would have to pay $1 billion for Musk to walk away. But it also appears that in some circumstances they could face a breach of contract lawsuit that would make their payments bigger.
Musk is the richest person in the world. A multi-billion dollar settlement won’t ruin him.
That said, the words “multibillion-dollar settlement” may not be music to Musk’s ears.
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