Elon Musk has a ridiculous reason for not wanting to buy Twitter

He appears to be desperate.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is reiterating his demand that Twitter "provide proof" that less than 5% of its users are bots.

"This deal cannot move forward" otherwise, he added of his bruising bid for the social media company.

But, let's be honest. It doesn't take much reading between the lines to figure out that Musk is trying to avoid spending $44 billion on a doubtful acquisition about which he has been continually confused and overconfident.

Another option is that it's a thinly veiled attempt to crash Twitter's stock and clinch the transaction at a lesser price, which Musk admitted isn't "out of the question" at a tech conference in Miami this week.

While Musk says that his "offer was based on the accuracy of Twitter's [Securities and Exchange Commission] filings," the billionaire CEO has already shattered any lingering goodwill, making future negotiations significantly more difficult than they could have been.

For one thing, Musk has frequently slammed Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, responding to his explanation of why it's impossible to know the exact proportion of fraudulent users with a feces emoji.

Musk is also accused by Twitter's legal team of breaking the nondisclosure agreement he signed with the firm.

"Twitter legal just contacted to say I broke their NDA by disclosing the bot check sample size is 100!" In a since-deleted tweet, Musk wrote.

Zoom out, and it's evident that Musk's Twitter acquisition is swiftly devolving into a tangled and nasty disaster, full of angry feuds and finger pointing — all of which might have been prevented if he'd done his homework first.

And his most recent attempt to conduct dubious back-of-the-envelope calculations concerning bots on Twitter has simply contributed to the confusion.

Given all of this, it's interesting considering why Musk is now now doubting Twitter's assertions. Is it even possible for Musk to buy Twitter for a substantially lower price now, especially considering his hostile attitude toward Twitter's leadership and board?

The hypothesis that Musk is losing faith in the deal — Tesla's stock has plummeted since Musk unveiled his plans to fund the buyout — is still plausible.

In other words, Musk may be able to prevent the transaction from collapsing, but he may privately prefer it to do so. In any case, things aren't looking good. The billionaire's groveling has sparked a weeks-long decline in Twitter's value.

Even if the sale goes through, Twitter could be in significantly worse circumstances than before Musk revealed his proposal.

It's a no-win situation, and Musk may be frantic to find a way out.

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