Elon Musk tweeted that Twitter deal is temporarily on hold

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SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk tweeted early Friday that his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter was temporarily on hold as he examined the number of spam accounts on the site, sending the company’s stock down sharply.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” he tweeted, linking to a Reuters article from last week citing a Twitter filing.

Roughly two hours later, he added: “Still committed to acquisition.”

It was not immediately clear how the Tesla CEO would pause the deal or how serious the threat was. Musk is prone to brash statements on Twitter, something that has drawn scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The terms of the deal require a $1 billion breakup fee.

Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At Financial Times Future of the Car summit on May 10, the Tesla CEO said permanently banning then-President Donald Trump from Twitter was “flat-out stupid.” (Video: Financial Times)

Elon Musk says he would reverse Twitter ban on Donald Trump

Before the tweet, Musk already was seeking additional investors for the purchase as a market downturn puts pressure on his financing.

Tesla has lost $400 billion in market value since Musk’s interest in Twitter became public in early April, driving a wedge in his acquisition plans at a time when he has committed $21 billion of his wealth to finance the purchase. Musk had planned to buy Twitter with a combination of loans and equity commitments, leveraging into the deal much of his stake in the world’s most valuable automaker — from which he derives most of his wealth.

Musk’s net worth, which makes him the world’s richest man, has fallen by around $50 billion in recent weeks, according to Forbes’ real-time wealth index. And Tesla stock has shed nearly 30 percent of its value in just the past month.

Musk disclosed more than $7 billion of financing last week from sources including investment firms, the Oracle founder Larry Ellison, the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Musk gets help from tech titans and a Saudi prince in Twitter bid

Now, Musk has been seeking out additional investments beyond what he had initially planned, because of the economic downturn and the weakening of Tesla’s stock price, according to people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the discussions.

In part because of the downturn, Musk and the bankers involved in the deal have been under pressure to solidify partners. Among them: Yahoo owner Apollo Global Management, which is expected to extend more than $1 billion of financing with a group of partners, according to one of the people.

And CNBC reported on Thursday that start-up investor Jason Calacanis was lining up investors to participate in Musk’s ownership bid. Prospective…

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