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Twitter deal could move ahead with ‘bot’ info, says Musk

AP – Elon Musk said his planned USD44 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.

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 toward an October trial in a Delaware court.

“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,” Musk tweeted on Saturday. “However, if it turns out that their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Elon Musk. PHOTO: AP

Musk, who has over 100 million Twitter followers, went on to challenge Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a “public debate about the Twitter bot percentage”.

Twitter declined comment. The company has repeatedly disclosed to the SEC an estimate that fewer than five per cent of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter has argued in court that Musk is deliberately trying to tank the deal and using the bot question as an excuse 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”.


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