Musk says Twitter deal could move ahead with ‘bot’ information

The billionaire has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company.

Twitter app on a phone
Twitter app on a phone

Elon Musk has said his planned 44 billion dollar (£36 billion) takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are “spam bots” or real people.

The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition.

Mr Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.

Both sides are headed towards an October trial in a Delaware court.

Elon Musk
Billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk (AP)

“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” Mr Musk tweeted on Saturday.

“However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Twitter declined to comment.

The company has repeatedly disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission an estimate that fewer than 5% of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. Mr Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter has argued in court that Mr Musk is deliberately trying to halt the deal because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests.

In a court filing on Thursday, it describes his counterclaims as an imagined story “contradicted by the evidence and common sense”.

“Musk invents representations Twitter never made and then tries to wield, selectively, the extensive confidential data Twitter provided him to conjure a breach of those purported representations,” company lawyers wrote.

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