Elon Musk looks down at his smartphone.

Elon Musk threatens to walk away from Twitter deal over fake accounts

Electric car billionaire Elon Musk has threatened to walk away from his $44 billion ($61 billion) takeover bid on Twitter after accusing the social media giant of giving him information about fake accounts and spam.

Mr. Musk’s lawyers sent a caustic letter to Twitter’s chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, accusing the company of “opposing and thwarting” by providing the billionaire with information about “spambot” accounts.

In the letter, a lawyer for Mr. Musk called it a “clear material violation” of the terms of their merger agreement, and said he reserves all rights to terminate his takeover offer.

“Twitter’s latest offer to simply provide additional details about the company’s own testing methods, either through written materials or verbal explanations, amounts to refusing Mr. Musk’s data requests,” the letter read.

Mr Musk said he needs the data to conduct his own analysis of Twitter users because he did not believe the company’s “lax testing methods”.

Twitter said it plans to force completion of the deal on agreed terms.

“Twitter has and will work with sharing information with (Mr) Musk to complete the transaction in accordance with the terms of the major agreement,” the company said in a statement.

‘Repent buyer’

The salvo has sparked speculation that Musk’s deal to buy Twitter is falling apart, as it isn’t the first time the eccentric billionaire has publicly suggested that his Twitter purchase may not happen.

Dennis Dick of Bright Trading said it was “pretty clear that Musk regrets the buyer and that he is trying everything to bring the price down, and I think he will succeed,” he told Reuters.

Last month, Mr Musk tweeted that the deal was “temporarily on hold” and said he would not proceed with the offer until the company provided proof that spambots make up less than 5 percent of its users.

The time has come for a broad dialogue among media workers, consumers and politicians on how to integrate media ethics more meaningfully into the community norms and day-to-day management of social media platforms. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

He has said he believes spambots make up at least a fifth of the user base.

The billionaire waived due diligence when he agreed to buy Twitter in April for $54.20 a share.

Twitter shares fell 1.5 percent on the news to $39.56 dollars.

Wall Street is rising

US equities ended a volatile session higher, but lingering concerns about rising inflation persisted.

The Dow Jones index rose 16 points or 0.05 percent to 32,916, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 4,121 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4 percent to 12,061.

Amazon stock rose 2 percent and was the biggest driver of the S&P 500.

Apple shares rose 0.5 percent as it made important announcements at its annual software developer conference.

In London, the FTSE 100 index rose 1 percent to 7,608, the CAC 40 in Paris also rose 1 percent to 4,988 and the DAX in Germany gained 1.3 percent to 14,654.

All eyes will be on the Reserve Bank this afternoon.

The RBA is tipped to raise interest rates again to curb rising inflation.

At 7:40 a.m. AEST, the Australian dollar was lower at about $71.92 US cents, while the futures index, the ASX SPI 200 index, fell 0.07 percent to 7,207.

Spot gold fell to $1842.13 an ounce, while Brent crude rose 0.2 percent to $120 a barrel after Saudi Arabia raised crude oil prices.

ABC/Reuters

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