One chart shows why Elon Musk may be so desperate to back out of his deal to buy Twitter


Was it really just about bots?

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk announced his intention to withdraw from his widely publicized $44 billion takeover attempt of social media platform Twitter, a deal he signed off on in April.

But Musk can’t just walk away. Clauses in the initial agreement mean that a court battle is likely, something the chairman of Twitter’s board has confirmed the company is willing to do to secure the deal at “the price and terms agreed upon.”

For months, Musk has been openly dissatisfied with how the deal was progressing, ostensibly because the Tesla CEO said he could not be certain whether Twitter’s estimate of spam accounts on the platform was accurate, even after the company reportedly provided him with the relevant data in June.

But aside from possible bot accounts, a deal struck for $54.20 per share is also significantly more than what Twitter’s stock is worth now.

And one chart shows just how much things have changed over the past three months.

Terms of the deal

When Musk proposed to buy Twitter in April, he made a “best and final offer” to buy the company for $54.20 per share.

But since then, like many other tech companies’, Twitter’s stock has been on a near-constant slide. Twitter’s stock has declined nearly 20% between Musk first made the offer to buy the company in April, and July 8, when he formally announced he was pulling out of the deal. Part of this decline was fueled by a larger downturn in the market over the past few months, which has included a massive selloff in tech stocks that began in May.

When Musk announced his intention to terminate the deal last Friday, Twitter stock fell even more, to $36.86 per share. And shares slid a further 6% to $34.61 in after-hours trading on Friday after Musk’s announcement, which represented a nearly 37% drop from the $54.20 original acquisition price.

Twitter’s stock price fall showed few signs of abating when markets reopened this week. It closed yesterday at $32.65, an almost 40% drop from the price Musk originally agreed to pay for the company.

Lingering confusion over the takeover, and Musk’s constant threats that he would terminate the agreement if Twitter’s board did not satisfy his requests, have left investors uncertain about the future of the company from the very moment the deal was first signed.

Unfortunately for Twitter—and possibly for Musk—the prospect of a drawn-out court battle means that there is a high chance the price could continue to be volatile.

Twitter’s stock could fall to the $25 to $30 range this week as the chances of a deal being salvaged grow dim, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in an investor note on Friday.

“This is a disaster scenario for Twitter and its Board as now the company will battle Musk in an elongated court battle to recoup the deal and/or the breakup fee of $1 billion at minimum,” Ives wrote, adding that Wall Street is becoming “wary of the looming court battle ahead between Musk and the Twitter board.”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com





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