Elon Musk, who was in the process of buying Twitter, announced Friday the deal is “temporarily on hold.” Hours later, he said he’s “still committed” to his $44 billion purchase.
“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted, linking to a Reuters article from last week detailing Twitter’s disclosure on spam accounts.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the metric affected Musk’s decision to buy the the company.
Hours later, Musk added:
Musk’s confusing announcement is likely related to financing, Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, said. Musk, who also runs Tesla, used Tesla shares as collateral to secure loans for the Twitter purchase. But Tesla’s share price has been battered along with other tech stocks in recent weeks.
“If Tesla stock keeps falling, he may not even have enough shares left to guarantee the loans,” Carusone tweeted Friday.
“So, no, I don’t think this about bots. This is about @elonmusk’s ideology getting ahead of his obligations to Tesla shareholders and his erratic behavior tanking Tesla value,” Carusone wrote in a subsequent tweet.
New York Times tech columnist Kara Swisher characterized Musk’s comments about spam accounts as a pretext to walk away, ducking a $1 billion breakup fee, and then “come back at a lower price.”
“Ironically someone like him could really improve Twitter as a private company but he could not resist performative hand waving on all manner of subjects,” Swisher said in a separate tweet. “He should have hushed and just paid the breakup fee, bought more shares on plunge and waited. But chaos it will be!”
Musk reached a deal with Twitter’s board last month to buy the social media giant for $44 billion, saying he had secured enough funding to do so. The deal includes a $1 billion termination fee, which Musk would have to pay if he walked away, according to Bloomberg.
The company itself is also going through changes ahead of the deal. Periscope co-founder Kayvon Beykpour announced his departure on Thursday, saying Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal asked him to resign.
“Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction,” Beykpour tweeted.
Bruce Falck, Twitter’s product lead, also left the company on Thursday.
Musk’s announcements follow a series of statements he made this week about the platform, including his intention to restore former President Donald Trump’s account.
“I would reverse the permanent ban,” Musk told a Financial Times event on Tuesday. “I don’t own Twitter yet. So this is not like a thing that will definitely happen, because what if I don’t own Twitter?”
This article has been updated with Musk saying he’s still committed to the deal.