Elon Musk is threatening to walk away from his deal to buy Twitter.
The Tesla CEO said Monday that he’s prepared to pull out of his agreement to purchase the social media site because he still doesn’t know how many bots are on the service.
Musk, 50, claims that Twitter has refused to provide him with the necessary data to determine the proliferation of automated and spam accounts.
“Based on Twitter’s behavior to date, and the company’s latest correspondence in particular, Mr. Musk believes the company is actively resisting and thwarting his information rights (and the company’s corresponding obligations) under the merger agreement,” his lawyer said in a letter to Twitter Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, published by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement.”
Musk agreed to buy the social media site in April for $44 billion with plans to take it private. But almost immediately, he began complaining about the deal and in May said the sale was “temporarily on hold” until he could confirm that “spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”
Of Twitter’s estimated 229 million users, that would equate about 11.45 million fake accounts.
A spokesperson for Twitter did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News Monday.
If he pulls out of the sale, Musk is on the hook for a $1 billion termination fee, according to a previous SEC filing. Twitter would be responsible for the same payout if it calls it quits.
Musk has never explained his extreme umbrage with Twitter bots, but his prominence on the social media site has seen a number of fake accounts pretending to be him.