Elon Musk looks to abandon $44 billion Twitter deal

July 8 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Friday he was terminating his $44 billion deal for Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), saying that the social media company had failed to provide information about fake accounts on the platform.Shares of Twitter were down 7% in extended trading. Musk had offered $54.20 per share in April.In a filing, Musk’s lawyers said Twitter had failed or refused to respond to multiple requests for information on fake or spam accounts on the platform, which is fundamental to the company’s business performance.Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegister”Twitter is in material breach of multiple provisions of that Agreement, appears to have made false and misleading representations upon which Mr. Musk relied when entering into the Merger Agreement,” the filing said.The announcement is another twist in a will-he-won’t-he saga after the world’s richest person clinched a $44 billion deal for Twitter in April but then put the buyout on hold until the social media company proved that spam bots account for less than 5% of its total users.The terms of the deal require Musk to pay a $1 billion break-up fee if he does not complete the transaction.Musk had threatened to halt the deal unless the company showed proof that spam and bot accounts were fewer than 5% of users who see advertising on the social media service.The decision is likely to result in a long protracted legal tussle between the billionaire and the 16-year-old San Francisco-based company.Twitter did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterReporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Lisa ShumakerOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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