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Tesla boss Elon Musk said on Friday he would suspend the Twitter acquisition pending details on the proportion of fake accounts on the social network. However, he claims to be “still committed” to buying the social network. The group’s stock, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, plummeted about 15% after this announcement in electronic trading before the opening of Wall Street. It had fallen 25% earlier in the day.
“Twitter’s acquisition is temporarily on hold pending details that spam and fake accounts account for far less than 5% of users,” Elon Musk wrote on the platform, where he has nearly 93 million subscribers. Contacted by AFP, Twitter did not immediately react. He then reiterated his commitment to acquire the social network, but the market questioned his true intentions.
A contract of 44 billion dollars
The board of directors of the social network with tweets accepted at the end of April a public acquisition offer of 44,000 million dollars formulated by the capricious leader of South African origin. Elon Musk promised to eliminate spam from Twitter, authenticate users and increase transparency without specifying how he intended to implement this project.
The company indicated at the beginning of May, during the presentation of its quarterly results, to count, on average from January to March, 229 million daily users said to be monetizable, that is, exposed to advertising. She had estimated on this occasion that less than 5% of them were spam or fake accounts.
A “key indicator”
The proportion of fake accounts is “a key indicator” for Twitter, explains Susannah Streeter, a market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, because “calculating the exact number of people actually tweeting is seen as crucial for future revenue streams through advertising or subscriptions.” you pay on site. . »
In addition to his desire to fight spam, Elon Musk said he wanted to make Twitter a bastion of free speech and said he was ready to reinstate former US President Donald Trump, whose account was permanently suspended after the attack on Capitol Hill. in January 2021. .
“Friday the 13th horror movie”
Since the Tesla and SpaceX chief’s takeover bid, Twitter’s stock value has shrunk by billions of dollars. The stock traded at just over $38 on Friday, well below the $54.20 per share purchase price offered by the billionaire.
Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives said Elon Musk’s latest tweet “will turn the Twitter takeover circus into a Friday the 13th horror movie.” he only wants to get out of the deal with a compensation of one billion dollars, ”the analyst details in a note.
A retreat to protect Tesla?
However, the leader had tried to ensure his ability to finance the operation, planning to resort to a considerable personal contribution and request a bank loan, as well as a margin loan in which he would pledge his Tesla shares.
Earlier this month, Elon Musk claimed to have raised just over $7 billion from various investors, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Saudi prince and businessman Al-Walid bin Talal. But for Dan Ives, the businessman has overestimated the strength of his Tesla shares, whose price has fallen sharply since the announcement of the Twitter takeover, and could seek to protect the electric vehicle manufacturer.