LONDON ( Associated Press) — Elon Musk announced Friday that his plans to acquire Twitter for $44 billion are “temporarily on hold” pending details about existing spam and fake accounts on the social media platform, in a new turn in the face of signs of internal turbulence caused by the purchase offer.
In a tweet, the billionaire owner of automaker Tesla posted the link to an article published by Reuters on May 2 that cited a Twitter financial report that estimated fake or spam accounts accounted for less than 5% of “ monetizable daily active users” in the first quarter of the year.
“The Twitter deal is temporarily on hold pending details to support the calculation that spam/fake accounts effectively represent less than 5% of users,” Musk said, indicating skepticism about this data.
It was unclear whether this could derail the deal. Shares of Twitter and Tesla soared in opposite directions: Those of the social network lost 18%, while those of the automaker, which Musk proposed using to help finance the purchase, gained 5%.
Investors have had to weigh in on Musk’s legal troubles, as well as the possibility that the Twitter acquisition could distract him from running the world’s most valuable automaker.
Musk’s tweet came a day after the platform fired two of its top managers. Twitter said it has halted most hiring, except for critical positions, and is “reducing non-labor costs to ensure we are being responsible and efficient.”
In a note to employees, confirmed by Twitter, CEO Parag Agrawal said the company has fallen short of its growth and profit targets after “aggressive” investment to expand its user base and revenue.