Elon Musk Says His Takeover of Twitter Is ‘On Hold.’

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Mr. Musk’s hand might be strengthened by the uncertainty his bid has created within Twitter, which could potentially make it harder for the company to continue independently. The company has struggled to add users and generate more revenue, and on Thursday, Twitter’s chief executive, Parag Agrawal, fired two top executives, halted new hiring and pledged to slash spending.

Mr. Musk has pledged to use his personal fortune to finance the deal for Twitter, a plan that has been affected by a recent plunge in stock prices, including Tesla’s. Tesla’s stock has fallen nearly 30 percent in the past month. Mr. Musk is both selling Tesla shares and putting them up as collateral for personal loans to raise cash.

If a deal were to be completed, business challenges at Twitter could force Mr. Musk to draw further on his Tesla stock to plug potential financial holes. And any problem at Tesla that caused its stock to fall far enough could trigger clauses in Mr. Musk’s personal loans that would require him to add more collateral, limiting his ability to invest in Twitter.

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Tesla’s stock rose on Friday after Mr. Musk’s comments.

The fluctuations in shares of Twitter and Tesla that followed Mr. Musk’s tweets could draw scrutiny. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Mr. Musk with securities fraud in 2018 after he falsely tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, sending the automaker’s shares up 6 percent. Mr. Musk and Tesla paid a $40 million penalty for the tweet. A shareholder lawsuit against Mr. Musk over the tweet is ongoing.

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“If I were his lawyer, I would be spending the morning scrambling to figure out what the implication of this all is under the federal security law,” said Marc Leaf, partner with Faegre Drinker and a former lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Leaf said Mr. Musk should be concerned about how securities regulators may react to postings on Twitter that have direct ramifications on the deal to buy the company. He also said it was unclear if Mr. Musk’s postings on Twitter would require an updated filing with regulators about his plans to take the social media company private, since they are considered material information to investors. He said Mr. Musk’s lawyers were probably discussing whether to do that at some point today.

Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Mr. Musk, did not return requests for comment.

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Mr. Musk’s tweet on Friday was not the first time he has taken jabs at Twitter’s business. He has raised questions about why celebrities and high-profile individuals don’t use the platform more. He has also targeted executives who oversee the company’s policies for taking down harmful and illicit content.

Kate Conger and Matthew Goldstein contributed reporting.



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