In a post on Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted that Twitter’s legal team called him out for allegedly violating a nondisclosure agreement. Musk’s update came not long after he revealed that Twitter’s sample size when it estimated the number of bots in its platform was just 100 accounts.
Last week, Musk announced that he was temporarily putting his Twitter acquisition on hold, at least until the social media company can explain how it concluded that less than 5% of its users were spam or bot accounts. Twitter stock reacted negatively to Musk’s statement, with shares dropping as much as 25% on Friday’s premarket.
This past weekend, Musk provided a few more details about his concerns about Twitter’s fake accounts. Musk noted that his team would be testing a random sample of 100 followers to check if the number of bots on the social media platform were as few as Twitter claimed. When asked why he opted for a sample size of 100 accounts, Musk responded by stating that the number was similar to Twitter’s own tests.
It did not take long before Musk posted an update stating that he just got a call from Twitter legal. “Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100! This actually happened,” Musk said.
Musk also noted that he is yet to see any analysis that explains why less than 5% of Twitter’s daily active users are fake accounts.
While Musk’s concerns are valid, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives noted on Monday that the Tesla CEO’s issue with Twitter’s “bot” problem could be a strategy to lower his acquisition price for the social media company. The Twitter board had accepted Musk’s offer to acquire the company for $54.20 per share, a deal worth about $44 billion.
“We view the $44 billion Twitter deal as having less than 50% to get done as of today. The elephant in the room for the Twitter board is Musk can walk away for a $1 billion as a small breakup fee (for Musk-all relative) and likely cite the bot/fake account issue as the reason, even though this likely would be contested by Twitter in the courts.
“If a revised deal does get done by Musk and Twitter, it will likely be at a lower price once negotiations take over and the diligence happens around Twitter DAU and algorithms hot button issues,” Ives noted.
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