Elon Musk has joked that ‘owning the libs’ isn’t cheap after claiming to put his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on hold.
‘Whoever thought owning the libs would be cheap never tried to acquire a social media company!’ Musk tweeted on Saturday. He added: ‘At least, that’s what the lib hivemind thinks haha.’
‘Owning libs’ is internet slang used by conservatives that refers to defeating or embarrassing liberals in arguments.
On Friday morning, Musk threw his Twitter takeover bid into chaos by tweeting that the deal was ‘temporarily on hold’ while he investigated the prevalence of fake and spam accounts on the social media site.
However, one person familiar with the negotiations told the Washington Post: ‘We haven’t seen one iota of evidence that the deal is on hold.’
‘Things continue today just as they were yesterday,’ the person said.
Elon Musk has joked that ‘owning the libs’ isn’t cheap after claiming to put his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on hold. He is seen above with his mother
Analysts as well as insiders widely believe that Musk’s tweets on Friday were an attempt to gain leverage and negotiate a lower price for his takeover, which has been approved by Twitter’s board but won’t close for several months.
Even Donald Trump, commenting on his Truth Social platform on Friday, suggested that Musk is looking to negotiate a better deal to buy Twitter after agreeing to pay $54.20 per share.
The former US president said the only reason the Tesla CEO had not called off the Twitter deal yet was because of the $1 billion break-up fee.
‘There is no way Elon Musk is going to buy Twitter at such a ridiculous price, especially since realizing it is a company largely based on BOTS or Spam Accounts,’ Trump wrote as he added jabs at the rival social media company.
‘If it weren’t for the ridiculous Billion Dollar breakup fee, Elon would have already been long gone,’ he added.
Former President Donald Trump was among many who speculated that Musk put the buyout on hold in the hopes of negotiating a better deal
Analysts as well as insiders widely believe that Musk’s tweets on Friday were an attempt to gain leverage and negotiate a lower price for his takeover
This week, Musk has also sparked fierce debate after saying he would allow Trump back on Twitter if and when he takes the reins, in line with his previous declarations that he planned to err on the side of free speech rather than bans and censorship.
Trump has repeatedly stated that he has no plan to go back to Twitter after he was removed from the platform following the January 6 Capitol riot.
Markets have plunged since the deal was approved on April 25, making Twitter’s valuation under the terms seem ever richer in comparison to similar companies.
Musk’s tweet on Friday claiming the deal was on hold had the effect of sending Twitter shares plunging, and boosting Tesla stock, which he is using as collateral to finance the deal, in effect putting Musk in a much stronger negotiating position.
The spread between the offer price and the value of Twitter shares had widened in recent days, implying less than a 50 percent chance of completion, as investors speculated that the downturn would prompt Musk to walk away or seek a lower price.
‘Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,’ Musk told his more than 92 million Twitter followers on Friday morning.
Musk said he was still committed to the $44 billion purchase of the social media company pending an investigation into how many spam accounts are on the site
‘To find out, my team will do a random sample of 100 followers’ of the microblogging site, Musk tweeted, inviting others to repeat the process and ‘see what they discover.’
‘If we collectively try to figure out the bot/duplicate user percentage, we can probably crowdsource a good answer.’
Musk tweeted he had ‘relied upon the accuracy of Twitter’s public filings’ in reply to a follower who asked why he had not thought of this before offering to buy the company.
Under the terms of Musk’s contract with Twitter, he is entitled to ask the company for information on its operations following the signing of the deal.
But this is meant to help him prepare for his ownership of Twitter, not to carry out due diligence and reopen negotiations.
Twitter is planning no immediate action against Musk as a result of Musk’s comment, people familiar with the matter said.
The company considered the comment disparaging and a violation of the terms of their deal contract, but was encouraged by Musk subsequently tweeting he was committing to the acquisition, the sources added.
Musk came to Twitter’s office for a meeting on May 6 as part of the transaction planning process, a Twitter spokesperson said.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal also weighed in, tweeting ‘While I expect the deal to close, we need to be prepared for all scenarios.’ On Thursday, Agrawal announced leadership changes and a hiring freeze.