Elon Musk’s threat to walk away from his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter has halted his efforts to arrange for financing that would help him complete the deal, according to reports.
Musk on Monday accused Twitter of breaching its contract with him by failing to provide information about spam accounts — and once again threatened to back out of his $44 billion takeover deal.
Musk has been threatening to scrap the deal unless the social media company provides him with data to back up its estimate that false or spam accounts comprise less than 5% of its user base.
Attorneys for the world’s richest man wrote that Twitter has refused to provide information that would “facilitate his evaluation of spam and fake accounts on the company’s platform,” according to a stern letter to Twitter that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk’s lawyers argued that Twitter’s alleged stonewalling amounts to “a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement.”
Musk is on the hook to pay $33.5 billion in cash to fund the deal after arranging debt financing to cover the rest.
His liquidity is limited given that his wealth, pegged by Forbes at $218 billion, is largely tied to the shares of Tesla, the electric carmaker he leads.
Musk had been engaged in discussions with a group of private equity firms led by Apollo Global Management, which was reportedly willing to chip in between $2 billion and $3 billion in preferred equity financing, Reuters reported.
Those talks are now on hold, according to Reuters.
The pause in discussions is the latest sign that Musk’s threats are delaying the deal from being completed.
Spokespeople for Musk and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. Apollo declined to comment.
After Twitter’s board of directors came to an agreement with Musk to sell the company in an all-cash deal for $45.20 a share, the Tesla CEO sold $8.5 billion worth of shares in the electric carmaker.
He has raised $7.1 billion from a group of equity co-investors to reduce his contribution.
Musk also sought to reduce this exposure further by arranging a risky $12.5 billion margin loan tied to the shares of Tesla, but then scrapped it last month.
Preferred equity would pay a fixed dividend from Twitter, in the same way that a bond or a loan pays regular interest but would appreciate in line with the equity value of the company.
With Post wires