Elon Musk may be about to get more data from Twitter than he knows what to do with.
Twitter’s board of directors, after resisting Musk’s demands for data backing up its claims about spam and bot accounts representing less than 5% of daily active users, has decided to change course, the Washington Post reported, citing an anonymous source “familiar with the company’s thinking.”
Musk this week threatened to call off his $44 billion offer to acquire Twitter over the issue; in a letter to the company, his lawyers said Twitter’s refusal to provide data about spam and fake accounts represented a “material breach” of their agreement.
Now, in an effort to close the deal, Twitter will offer Musk and his team access to its full “firehose” of raw data from the social platform, which includes 500 million-plus tweets posted daily, as early as this week, the Post reported.
When Musk inked the deal in April to buy Twitter, he waived his right to conduct deep due diligence on the company’s operations. Musk is on the hook to pay a $1 billion breakup fee if he walks away from the deal (and could be the target of lawsuits by Twitter shareholder or Twitter itself) unless he can demonstrate that Twitter significantly misled him about factors related to the company’s value. Wall Street has viewed Musk’s saber rattling over the spam/bot percentage as an attempt to drive down the deal price, or to give him a pretext to nix the acquisition.
Third-party researchers have lent credence to Musk’s skepticism about Twitter’s sub-5% claim about spam and fake accounts. For example, a recent study by data analytics provider GlobalData estimated that about 10% of Twitter’s active users post spam content, although the firm acknowledged that it’s challenging to determine what represents a “spam” account.
Asked for comment, a Twitter spokesman pointed to the company’s previous statement issued Monday.
“Twitter has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement,” Twitter said in the June 6 statement. “We believe this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”
In another development, Twitter shareholders will vote in late July or early August on whether to approve Musk’s bid for the company, company lawyer Vijaya Gadde said in a staff meeting, Bloomberg reported.
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