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In the latest bombshell in the Twitter takeover drama, Elon Musk Tweet this morning that his $44 billion bid was “temporarily on hold” until he could verify the company’s estimate that fake accounts and spam on its platform make up less than 5 percent of total users (that number is not new). About two hours later, Mr. Musk tweeted that he was still “committed” to the acquisition.

Twitter shares were already down 20 percent in pre-market trading, while Tesla shares jumped 6 percent.

The tweets fueled speculation that Mr. Musk might back out of the deal, as shares of Tesla, Mr. Musk’s main source of personal income, tumbled. Mr. Musk held a confidential meeting at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters last Friday to discuss business and logistical deals, DealBook confirmed, indicating that, at least at the time, he was focused on moving forward. (A spokesperson told DealBook that “As part of the transaction planning process, Elon Musk visited the Twitter office for a meeting.”)

He has already signed a contract. In addition to the $1 billion breakup fee, Twitter could take Mr Musk to court to force him to pay for the deal if his debt financing is sound, according to the deal contract.

Mr. Musk may be trying to push for a lower price by laying the groundwork for a conclusion fundamental negative changeSimilar to what LVMH did in its acquisition of Tiffany, citing the financial damage caused by the pandemic. LVMH eventually got a lower bargain price.

But the threshold for ‘adverse change’ is high. Given the speed and limited diligence with which Musk pursued the Twitter deal, he is unlikely to find a sympathetic judge. Mr. Musk has already told investors that he thinks Twitter can. Five times more revenuemaking Twitter steal $44 billion.

“He really fell on the dotted line saying he bought a house,” said Brian Quinn, an assistant professor at Boston University School of Law who focuses on corporate mergers. “If, after buying a house, I say, ‘I want a lower price,’ the seller will say ‘No’.

This deal looks different than it did a week ago, and now we know more about the Twitter challenges. Parag Agrawal, CEO of the company, said yesterday Two senior executives were leaving. (These managers tweeted that they were fired.) Mr. Agrawal also said he had frozen most new hires and was cutting spending. He said those steps resulted in part from the company’s failure to meet targets in audience and revenue growth. Twitter shares closed yesterday at $45.22 – well below the $54.20 offered by Mr. Musk. On a larger scale, tech stocks are facing a bloodbath.

Tesla shares are under pressure. Mr. Musk may be the world’s richest man, but much of his wealth is tied up in Tesla – which he has tapped to great effect to help build the rest of his business empire. Tesla shares were at $1,145 the day he announced his initial stake on Twitter. They were at $728 yesterday. Mr. Musk was already looking to reduce the leverage of his Tesla holdings to buy Twitter: He first said he would take a $12 billion loan against his Tesla stock before cutting that down to $6.25 billion. (He is said to be searching To cancel the entire loan.)

Mr. Musk’s tweets could be subject to scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission. They transferred Tesla and Twitter shares, indicating that the information should have been something the shareholders discovered in a public filing with the agency. Should this be added to the long list What organizational issues did Musk face with this bid?