Elon Musk questions his Twitter takeover and wants details on fake accounts

published on Friday 13 May 2022 at 22:44

Elon Musk is sending mixed signals about his plan to take over Twitter: On Friday, two hours after saying the takeover was “on hold” due to doubts about the number of fake accounts, the erratic boss assured he was “still committed to to complete the acquisition”. transaction.

“Twitter acquisition has been suspended pending details that spam and fake accounts account for less than 5% of users,” Musk first wrote on the platform, where it has nearly 93 million subscribers.

He then reiterated his commitment to acquiring the social network, but the market doubted his real intentions.

Following the announcement of the suspension, the stock first fell 25%, then cut losses and ended the Wall Street session at 9.7%.

The general manager of the social network, Parag Agrawal, assured during the day that he still expects the operation to go ahead.

After initially objecting, the social network’s board of directors accepted a $44 billion takeover offer made by the erratic leader of South African descent in late April.

In particular, Mr. Musk promised to rid Twitter of spam, authenticate users and increase transparency without specifying how he intended to carry out this project.

The company indicated in early May that from January to March it had an average of 229 million daily users called monetizable, that is, exposed to advertisements.

She had estimated on this occasion that less than 5% of them were spam or fake accounts.

The proportion of fake accounts is “an important indicator” for Twitter, explains Susannah Streeter, market analyst for Hargreaves Lansdown, because “calculating the precise number of people who actually tweet is considered critical to future revenue streams through advertising or paid subscriptions to the site .”

– No “seductive comment” –

Since the takeover bid from the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, Twitter’s market value has fallen by billions of dollars, following the same downward move as most technology stocks on Wall Street.

The title ended Friday at just over $40, well below the billionaire’s $54.20 suggested.

Management announced the departure of two senior officials on Thursday and the suspension of all non-essential hires.

“While I expect the deal to close, we must be prepared for all scenarios and continue to act in the interest of Twitter,” Parag Agrawal said on the social network on Friday.

“I will also try to bring more transparency to the work we do,” he added. But that doesn’t go through “tweets about the + topic of the day + or the sexiest comment”.

With Elon Musk’s latest tweet, “Wall Street will now consider 1) the deal is about to call off, 2) it’s an attempt by Musk to negotiate a lower purchase price or, 3) Musk just wants to walk away of the deal with a $1 billion severance package,” said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities.

To fund the operation, the leader planned to resort to a significant personal contribution, applying for a bank loan and margin loan in which he would pledge his Tesla shares as collateral.

Earlier this month, Mr. Musk claimed to have raised just over $7 billion from several investors, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talal.

“While we never questioned Musk’s ability to complete the transaction financially, we believed the biggest risk was that Elon himself would change his mind,” said CFRA’s Angelo Zino.

For Dan Ives, the entrepreneur has overestimated the strength of his Tesla stock, whose price has fallen sharply since the announcement of the Twitter acquisition, and could protect the electric vehicle manufacturer.

“The fact that Musk is creating so much uncertainty with a tweet (and not with a stock document) is very disturbing for us and for Wall Street” and raises “many questions, but no concrete answers as to whether the transaction will take place,” the analyst emphasizes. .

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