Elon Musk has signaled he wants to pay less than $44 billion for Twitter after telling a tech conference that he believes at least 20 percent of the platform’s accounts are bots.
The Tesla boss, who announced last week that his deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold,” said at the All In Summit that a lower price deal is possible for the company, according to the Associated Press.
Mr Musk said the percentage of bots among the 229 million Twitter accounts is on the low end of his estimate, according to Bloomberg News, which was watching a live stream of the event.
Twitter shares closed down eight percent at $37.39 on Monday, while Mr Musk offered to buy the company for $54.20 on April 14.
The world’s richest person has announced he will use billions of dollars in Tesla stock to buy Twitter, and the electric vehicle maker’s shares have fallen more than 27 percent in value over the past month.
This has led some observers to believe that Mr Musk could be trying to get out of the deal, which would cost him a $1 billion exit fee.
Earlier in the day, Mr Musk sent a poop emoji to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal after he claimed it was difficult to conduct an external verification to determine the percentage of bots and fake accounts.
“Unfortunately, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we cannot share), we do not believe this specific estimate can be performed externally,” Mr Agrawal tweeted.
“Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day.
“Below this high-level description there are MANY details that are very important. We gave Elon an overview of the estimation process a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him and all of you.”
Twitter has previously said it believes less than five percent of its accounts are fake.