Businessman Elon Musk insisted again today that the planned $44 billion acquisition of the social platform Twitter could go ahead if the company discloses details about the percentage of automated accounts.
The billionaire and Tesla chairman has been trying to backtrack on the deal he announced in April to buy the technology, prompting Twitter’s management to sue him last month to move the acquisition forward.
Musk has since counterattacked, accusing the platform of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other issues that, in his view, amounted to fraud and breach of contract.
“If Twitter simply provides its method of sampling 100 accounts and how these are confirmed to be real, the deal must proceed in the original terms,” Musk tweeted earlier this morning.
However, the businessman warned that “if it turns out that the files with the SEC [Comissão de Valores Mobiliários dos Estados Unidos] are materially false”, then the business “must not” continue.
Elon Musk also challenged the president of Twitter, Parag Agrawal to a “public debate on the percentage of ‘bots’ among the universe of users of the platform.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Twitter declined to comment on the statements. The company has repeatedly submitted estimates to the SEC that less than 5% of user accounts are fake or ‘spam’, although the percentage could be higher.
The US news agency adds that Elon Musk waived the right to greater ‘due diligence’ when he signed the merger agreement in April.
Elon Musk notified in early July of his intention to cancel the purchase of the technology, arguing that the San Francisco, California-based company lied about the percentage of automated accounts.
The intention was not well received by the company’s Board of Directors, which responded with a lawsuit in a commercial dispute court to force it to complete the transaction, with the trial scheduled for October and expected to last for five days.
The Wilmington, Delaware-based court earlier this month accepted a request from the social platform to expedite the purchase, after Musk asked for the trial to be delayed, at best, until February 2019. 2023
Musk’s lawyers insisted that the “dispute over fake accounts and ‘spam’ is critical to the value of Twitter” and called for “substantial time” to conduct an investigation, deeming it “unnecessary” to follow a “vertiginous timetable.
On Thursday, Twitter’s lawyers noted that Elon Musk’s position portrays a story “contradicted by evidence and common sense.”
“Musk invents representations that Twitter never made and then attempts to selectively wield the extensive confidential data that Twitter has provided him with to conjure a violation of those alleged representations,” they wrote, quoted by the AP.
Twitter convened its shareholders to participate in an extraordinary meeting on September 13 through a conference call to approve or not the purchase under the terms agreed in April.
Twitter’s Board of Directors appealed to shareholders to validate the deal, explaining that it would be the last step towards its completion, although they also stated this month that the deal’s completion will depend on “pending litigation”.