Elon Musk put his $44-billion deal for social media platform Twitter temporarily on hold on Friday while he awaits data on the proportion of its fake accounts.
Twitter shares fell 17.7 percent to $37.10 in premarket trading, their lowest level since Musk disclosed his stake in the company in early April and subsequently made a best and final offer to take it private for $54.20 per share.
Meanwhile, Tesla shares, against which Musk has secured $6.25 billion in funding for the acquisition, were up about 5 percent.
“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5 percent of users,” Elon Musk told his 92 million Twitter followers on Friday.
In his latest tweet, Elon Musk referred to a Reuters story from May 2 that said Twitter had estimated that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5 percent of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter, when it recorded 229 million users who were served advertising.
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, had said that one of his priorities would be to remove spam bots from the platform.
Elon Musk will have to pay a termination fee of $1 billion if he walks away from the deal.