Elon Musk‘s $44 billion offer to purchase Twitter, already one of the most odd corporate takeover efforts in modern industry, got a bit crazier on Friday. First, Mr. Musk indicated the purchase was on hold in a tweet sent before morning. He stated that he needed more information on the amount of spam and false accounts on the network. Mr. Musk then tweeted again roughly two hours later. He stated he was “still committed” to the purchase but gave no further specifics.
Many others wondered if Mr. Musk was developing cold feet, attempting to lower the purchase price, or just searching for some attention because of his seemingly inconsistent signals. Maybe it was a combo of all three. In response to his tweets, Twitter’s stock yo-yoed.
His comments were the latest chapter in an ongoing business crisis that has highlighted concerns about online free speech and the consequences of placing the world’s wealthiest person in control of one of the most powerful social media platforms. Mr. Musk has stated that Twitter’s content control procedures will be relaxed. He announced on Tuesday that the ban on former President Donald J. Trump will be lifted.
While most large-scale purchases are scripted, Mr. Musk has chosen a more spontaneous approach. He completed some preliminary due diligence on the transaction before moving through, and he stated in an April conference interview that he was unconcerned about Twitter’s financial details.
Mr. Musk illustrated on Friday how his whims may impact deal-making.
Mr. Musk’s first tweet alluded to a Twitter regulatory filing from May 2 that included an estimate that fewer than 5% of Twitter users were spam and fraudulent accounts. He previously stated that one of his major goals after taking control will be to eliminate the site of fraudulent accounts, bots, and spam.
Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO, said in a series of tweets on Friday that “a lot has occurred over the past several weeks” and that he expects the agreement with Mr. Musk will finish.