Elon Musk has formally threatened to terminate his multibillion-dollar Twitter merger agreement.
As first reported by the Associated Press on Monday, lawyers representing Musk have accused Twitter of withholding data related to spam and fake accounts on the platform. The comments, deal-terminating threat included, arrived in the form of a letter featured in a June 6-dated SEC filing from Twitter Inc.
“Twitter has, in fact, refused to provide the information that Mr. Musk has repeatedly requested since May 9, 2022 to facilitate his evaluation of spam and fake accounts on the company’s platform,” Musk’s lawyers said in the letter, also dated June 6. “Twitter’s latest offer to simply provide additional details regarding the company’s own testing methodologies, whether through written materials or verbal explanations, is tantamount to refusing Mr. Musk’s data requests.”
Elsewhere in the letter, specifically addressed to Twitter’s chief legal officer, lawyers point to “various terms of the merger agreement” as requiring the company to share data and other information at Musk’s request.
“At this point, Mr. Musk believes Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr. Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover. If Twitter is confident in its publicized spam estimates, Mr. Musk does not understand the company’s reluctance to allow Mr. Musk to independently evaluate those estimates.”
This issue has been at the core of Musk x Twitter headlines for some time now. In May, he said his Twitter takeover deal was “temporarily on hold” as he awaited further information on spam and fake accounts. Later that same month, Musk was sued by Twitter shareholders.
The Musk-focused stories have been frequent since Twitter’s announcement in April of entering into a definitive agreement under which it would be acquired by an entity owned by the Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder. At the time, the transaction—which would also see Twitter becoming a privately held company—was reported to be valued at roughly $44 billion.
Of note amid related coverage is the repeated mentions of the permanent Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump. Musk has said that he believes Trump should be allowed to return to the platform, although he’s also said he would prefer a “less divisive candidate” going into 2024.