It’s hard to imagine being able to play a game of chicken with one of the largest social media companies in the world, but that’s apparently what’s happening in Elon Musk’s on-again, off-again (according to rumor) offer to acquire Twitter in a deal that would, incredibly, take the company private with a purchase price of around $44 billion.
Jon Porter at The Verge reports Musk seems to be looking for harder numbers on how many of Twitter’s active users are really just bots.
Twitter has floated the number of 5%, while Musk believes that fake account numbers could be as high as 20% or higher.
Here’s how Porter quotes Musk speaking at a recent tech conference:
“Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” said Musk. “It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.”
In a bid to discredit this concept, Musk is appealing to the company to stand by SEC filing information, which could be problematic for Twitter if there’s any ambiguity in that data. Some people, though, think that Musk is looking for leverage to get a lower purchase price.
In any case, it’s going to take a lot of money to acquire the entire platform, a platform that Musk is already using pretty prolifically. And his tweets can drive markets, as in Musk’s errant use of social media to pump Dogecoin earlier this year.
Most recently, Musk responded to an argument from Twitter’s CEO with a turd emoji, a symbol of how Twitter affects the public discourse.
Is that also a symbol of how this deal is going to go? The proposed Twitter acquisition is now taking place in the context of raised federal interest rates, and twin crashes in crypto and equities.
Stay tuned for more on how this deal may affect markets as markets fluctuate ominously this week.