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Musk accuses Twitter of withholding data, says may withdraw bid

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Tesla Chief Exeuctive Elon Musk threatened to withdraw his bid for Twitter if the company does not provided requested information on fake accounts
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Elon Musk threatened Monday to withdraw his bid to buy Twitter, accusing it of failing to provide data on fake accounts, in the latest twist in the Tesla billionaire’s push to acquire the social network.

Twitter has committed “a clear material breach” of its “obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves … his right not to consummate the transaction,” according to a document filed with securities regulators.

The filing marks an escalation of Musk’s prior statements that have highlighted fake accounts as a threat to his proposed $44 billion deal to take over Twitter.

The mercurial Musk agreed a deal in late April to purchase Twitter.

But the proposed sale has stoked protest from critics who warn his stewardship will embolden hate groups and disinformation campaigns.

US securities regulators have also pressed Musk for an explanation of an apparent delay in reporting his Twitter stock buys.

Musk began making significant noise about fake accounts in mid-May, saying on Twitter he could walk away from the transaction if his concerns were not addressed.

Some observers have seen Musk’s questioning of Twitter bots as a means to end the takeover process, or to pressure Twitter into lowering the price.

Musk’s latest statement on bots signifies he is “looking to walk away from deal,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said Monday on Twitter, noting that there is a $1 billion breakup fee in the Twitter-Musk transaction. 

“We continue to believe that Elon is playing hard ball… to gain leverage/options to either reduce his offer price or indeed completely walk away if he gets cold feet,” said CFRA Research’s Angelo Zino.

“Ultimately, we are finding it increasingly difficult to envision a scenario where this doesn’t get settled in the courts.”

– Back and forth –

Musk has said that the real number of bots may be four times higher than Twitter estimates.

Bots can be used on social media to spread false news or create a distorted impression of how widely information is being consumed and shared.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal has said that fewer than five percent of accounts active on any given day at Twitter are bots, but that analysis cannot be replicated externally due to the need to keep user data private.

But Musk has been dismissive of Twitter’s responses and reiterated that stance in Monday’s filing.

Musk’s attorney, Mike Ringler, said Twitter had failed to respond to Musk’s valid inquiry about fake accounts, according to the filing.

“Mr. Musk has made it clear that he does not believe the company’s lax testing methodologies are adequate so he must conduct his own analysis,” Ringler said in the letter. “The data he has requested is necessary to do so.”

To execute the deal, Musk “must have a complete and accurate understanding of the very core of Twitter’s business model — its active user base,” said the filing. 

“Mr. Musk believes Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr. Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover.”

Shares of Twitter fell 2.9 percent to $38.99 in late-morning trading.

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US suspends solar tariffs, boosts production in clean energy push

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Boosting renewable capacity and combating climate change are a priority for President Joe Biden whose green ambitions have met with mixed success
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US President Joe Biden on Monday will suspend tariffs for two years on solar panel imports from four countries and invoke a key power to compel domestic manufacture of clean energy technology, the White House said.

The moves are aimed at boosting renewable capacity and combating climate change, a priority for the president whose green ambitions have met with mixed success.

“Today’s clean energy technologies are a critical part of the arsenal we must harness to lower energy costs for families, reduce risks to our power grid, and tackle the urgent crisis of a changing climate,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

It added that, compared to when Biden took office, the United States was on track to triple domestic solar manufacturing capacity by 2024, from 7.5 gigawatts to 22.5 gigawatts, enough to enable 3.3 million homes to switch to solar each year.

Duties will be lifted on certain solar parts from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam — but not China — as a “bridge” to ensure the United States has access to sufficient parts to meet electricity needs while domestic capacity scales up.

China is excluded as the Commerce Department investigates whether some Chinese companies are circumventing US customs duties by assembling parts in the four countries.

At the same time, Biden’s administration will invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate production, and use the federal government’s purchasing power to increase demand.

Solar panel parts, building insulation and efficient heat pumps are all targeted under the DPA.

Former president Donald Trump used the same powers during the Covid pandemic to increase production of medicines and equipment, and it was also invoked during World War II.

Most recently, Biden used the act to help baby formula makers to overcome a production shortfall.

The administration will also look to permit more clean energy projects on public lands, including both solar and wind.

“The fact is with a stronger clean energy arsenal, the United States can also be a stronger power partner to our allies all around the world, especially in the face of Putin’s war in Ukraine,” a senior administration official told reporters.

“The stakes are high and the president is taking action.”

Biden has succeeded in getting Congress to pass a bipartisan infrastructure law, a pillar in his climate policy, but has failed to pass a second proposed law, the Build Back Better act.

At the same time he has been criticized by environmental groups for plans to resume oil and gas drilling on public lands, reneging on a campaign promise.

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Musk accuses Twitter of withholding data, says may withdraw bid

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Tesla Chief Exeuctive Elon Musk threatened to withdraw his bid for Twitter if the company does not provided requested information on fake accounts
Share this:

Elon Musk threatened Monday to withdraw his bid to buy Twitter, accusing it of failing to provide data on fake accounts, in the latest twist in the Tesla billionaire’s push to acquire the social network.

Twitter has committed “a clear material breach” of its “obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves … his right not to consummate the transaction,” according to a document filed with securities regulators.

The filing marks an escalation of Musk’s prior statements that have highlighted fake accounts as a threat to his proposed $44 billion deal to take over Twitter.

Musk has said that the real number of bots may be four times higher than Twitter estimates.

Bots can be used on social media to spread false news or create a distorted impression of how widely information is being consumed and shared.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal has said that fewer than five percent of accounts active on any given day at Twitter are bots, but that analysis cannot be replicated externally due to the need to keep user data private.

Musk has been dismissive of Twitter’s responses and reiterated that stance in Monday’s filing.

To execute the deal, Musk “must have a complete and accurate understanding of the very core of Twitter’s business model — its active user base,” said the filing. 

“Mr. Musk believes Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr. Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover.”

Shares of Twitter fell 3.6 percent to $38.70 in early trading.

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US fund sues London Metal Exchange over nickel trade halt

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LME's owner, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, said in a statement that Elliott Management's claim is "without merit and the LME will contest it vigorously"
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A US investment firm has filed a $456-million lawsuit against the London Metal Exchange for suspending nickel trading during a huge surge in prices in March, the two sides said Monday.

The prices for the metal, used in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries, jumped on March 8 to a then-record high of $101,365 per tonne on a bad bet from a Chinese billionaire after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The LME subsequently decided to cancel all trades made that day and temporarily halted trading.

That left nickel’s record high at $48,002 per tonne, set on March 7.

The turmoil prompted fierce investor criticism of LME management, and UK financial regulators launched a review into the matter.

The US investment firm, Elliott Management, considers that by cancelling nickel trades, the LME either “acted unlawfully” by exceeding its powers or exercised them “unreasonably and irrationally” by “taking into account irrelevant factors”, a spokesman for the fund said.

LME’s owner, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, said in a statement that Elliott Management’s claim is “without merit and the LME will contest it vigorously”.

The LME said in a separate statement that it had cancelled trades to “take the market back to the last point in time at which the LME could be confident that the market was operating in an orderly way”.

“At all times the LME, and LME Clear, sought to act in the interests of the market as a whole,” it added.

Moscow’s invasion sparked nickel market chaos because of concerns about supplies from Russia, the world’s third-biggest producer of the industrial metal.

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