Twitter Deal ‘Temporarily on Hold,’ Says Elon Musk

Billionaire Elon Musk’s plans to buy social media platform Twitter are on hold for now, he said on Friday.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk posted on Twitter.

In the tweet, Musk provided a link to a May 2 Reuters article quoting Twitter’s filing on Monday. “Twitter Inc estimated in a filing on Monday that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter,” the Reuters piece said.

Musk has been vocal about cleaning the platform of spam bots. “If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!,” Musk tweeted before the deal was sealed, adding “And authenticate all real humans.”

Twitter shares are down 17% in pre-market trading Friday, following Musk’s post.

In late April, Musk clinched a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

According to the deal agreement between Musk and Twitter, if either party decides to end the deal, they are bound to pay the other a termination fee of $1 billion.

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In the first earnings report following the announcement of the Musk sale, Twitter’s daily average monetizable daily active usage — the proprietary metric it calls “mDAU” — rose to 229 million for Q1, up 16% versus Q1 in the prior year and a sequential net gain of 14.3 million. Average U.S. mDAUs were 39.6 million for Q1, up 6.4% compared to Q1 of the prior year (and up from 37.5 million in Q4).

First-quarter revenue was $1.2 billion, up 16% year-over-year, reflecting “headwinds associated with the war in Ukraine,” according to Twitter. Net income came in at $513 million, representing diluted earnings per share of 61 cents.

Musk recently said that Twitter’s permanent ban on Donald Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “flat-out wrong.” He went on to label it as a “mistake” and claimed the move “alienated a large part of the county and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”

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Todd Spangler contributed to this story.

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