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Twitter executives say deal with Elon Musk is not ‘on hold’

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Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley reviews how Twitter executives are going through with the acquisition deal with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in addition to Musk's concerns on the platform's bot accounts.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Let's get to the latest on the Elon Musk and Twitter saga because a new day and we know that there are certainly are new developments. Twitter executives now reportedly saying that the price of the deal is not up for discussion. Tech editor Dan Howley is following this story for us. And Dan, we know there's been some back and forth. It looks like Elon Musk is trying to get a better deal. But Twitter might not be coming to the table on this one.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, it doesn't sound like they're coming to the table at all or have no appetite for this at all. According to reports, Twitter's top lawyer essentially said there's no such thing as putting a deal on hold. And that's in response to, obviously, Elon Musk saying that the deal was on hold because he didn't like what he saw when it came to bot numbers. Now, this really goes back to when he originally wanted to purchase Twitter.

Obviously, $54.20 per share, excuse me, $44 billion. But right now, I mean, Twitter is trading well lower than that, $73.29. So, you know, obviously, he's going to be paying a little bit of a premium there if it sticks at that. And so a lot of people are now thinking, is he purposely trying to distance himself from this, playing up this bot discussion, just so he has a way to get out? Now--

DAVE BRIGGS: Yes.

DAN HOWLEY: I mean, well, that's the thing, right? He posted earlier today basically a meme of Twitter, showing that it runs only bots, and that's it's only run bots and that the Twitter board has known this the whole time. I mean, look, it really comes down to whether or not they want to-- Twitter wants to go ahead and try to sue if Musk tries to get out of this. They could do that. That could be a long, long process. Or they could both break it off. If Elon breaks it off, he's going to pay a billion.

If Twitter breaks it off, they're going to pay a billion. So either way, someone's going to lose money here. You got to wonder how Twitter employees feel at this point because their lives are basically in limbo until they find out who's going to be their next boss, and then what that means for the company going forward.

DAVE BRIGGS: There's more than $10 billion already trimmed off their market cap. It was at 50 bucks a share when Elon started making this move. And to your point, it's at 37 now. Let's get back to the heart of the matter, which is, at least, Elon says is about the bot. So he clearly is just a man with cold feet. Wouldn't this just be done in an hour in a conversation? Parag Agrawal is a very smart man. Elon said yesterday, he thinks it's 20%. He's urging the SEC to investigate. Couldn't this have been done on a phone call? And how do we not have a definitive answer?

DAN HOWLEY: Well, according to Twitter, that 5%, or less than 5%, of users is--

DAVE BRIGGS: Exactly.

DAN HOWLEY: That's accurate, according to what they've done. They say they use automated processes to check, as well as humans to check. So, you know, that's what Parag Agrawal was saying over the weekend when he was tweeting. And Elon Musk-- or rather, Monday, when he was tweeting, and then Elon Musk firing back, saying that that's not true. He wanted to look at the information. Agrawal basically said, look, we can't put that information out publicly. That's our private stuff. And you are not the owner of the company yet, at least.

So, you know, it really does come down to what that number is. And some researchers have said it can be as high as 20%. 13.7% was a number from an Israeli company. That was their guess. Elon has said, oh, God knows it could be 90%. So, obviously, you know, exaggerating there. But I don't know if they'll get an actual number anytime soon, outside of him purchasing the company. And it seems that Twitter is going to hold his feet to the fire and say, you wanted this fight. And now you got it, so we're going to stick you to it.

DAVE BRIGGS: Loudest quiet period in history.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, certainly. And Dan, just real quick, before we let you go, do you think that with all this back and forth and what Elon Musk has put forward about the changes, some of the changes that he wants to see to Twitter, do you think that whether or not he buys it, we, in fact, will see some change at Twitter, just in terms of their business model and how they're doing things?

DAN HOWLEY: I mean, I think with Agrawal, he was going to try to monetize the company better anyway, right? That was kind of why he was there, to better monetize Twitter, which is something that the company has been criticized for ad nauseum for years and years and years. I think that they'll continue to try to do something along those lines. Don't forget they introduced a subscription service.

So, you know, I think that they're going to try to improve it regardless. Musk really-- I mean, he said he doesn't care if it makes money. So he would eliminate advertising. I mean, the company is an advertising company. Look, I use Twitter for work. That's it. I am not paying anything for Twitter. I'll take the ads. But if you start asking me to pay for it, then I'm just going to delete it. I don't care, so.

SEANA SMITH: I'm with you. Would you pay for it?

DAVE BRIGGS: 2 bucks a month, that's my limit.

SEANA SMITH: You would pay 2 bucks?

DAVE BRIGGS: 2 bucks a month.

DAN HOWLEY: No way.

DAVE BRIGGS: I got friends who would pay 30 bucks a month for Twitter. They're watching right now, yeah.

SEANA SMITH: Wow.

DAN HOWLEY: You should pay me--

SEANA SMITH: Money bags.

DAN HOWLEY: --30 bucks a month to use Twitter.

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