A close-up of Elon Musk smiling at an event.

Twitter deal up in the air as Elon Musk threatens to walk away after repeated requests for bot data

Elon Musk has threatened to back out of his $44 billion ($61 billion) bid to buy Twitter, accusing the company of refusing to give him information about its spam bot and fake accounts.

Lawyers for the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX made the threat in a letter to Twitter dated Monday, and Twitter disclosed it in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The letter said Mr. Musk had repeatedly requested the information since May 9, about a month after his offer to buy the company, so he could assess how many of the company’s 229 million accounts are fake.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said Twitter has always estimated that less than 5% of its accounts are fake. But Mr. Musk disputed that, saying in a May tweet that 20% or more was wrong.

Shares of Twitter Inc fell just under 3% on Monday, likely infuriating Twitter shareholders who filed suit against Mr Musk late last month for deflating the stock price . Twitter shares are down 23% in the past month.

Twitter said in a statement Monday that it “has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to complete the transaction pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement.”

Mr. Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share in April. A number of Mr Musk’s actions since then, including a public spat with the Twitter CEO over fake accounts – on Twitter – have some pundits wondering if the billionaire wanted to cut the deal, or at least lower his offer.

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