Elon Musk sent mixed messages Friday about his proposed Twitter acquisition, pressuring shares of the microblogging platform amid skepticism on whether the deal will close.
In an early morning tweet, Musk said the $44 billion takeover was “temporarily on hold,” pending questions over the social media company’s estimates of the number of fake accounts or “bots.”
That sent Twitter’s stock plunging 25 percent.
Two hours later, the unpredictable Tesla chief executive added a tweet, saying “Still committed to acquisition.”
Shares recovered a bit, but traded in the red throughout Friday’s session, finishing down nearly 10 percent at $40.72.
While the reliability of user figures is an important benchmark for assessing revenues of Twitter and other social media companies, analysts generally interpreted Musk’s messages as an attempt to pull out of the deal or to try to force a lower price.
“Although we never questioned Musk’s ability to complete such a transaction from a financial perspective, we thought the biggest risk was Elon himself having a change of heart,” CFRA Research’s Angelino Zino said an analyst’s note.
lHe said the move gives Musk “leverage” and increases the chance “that he either adjusts his offer price downward or just completely walks away.”