(CNN) — After announcing that he wants out of his deal to buy Twitter, Elon Musk spent the weekend in Idaho at the Sun Valley Conference.
He spoke onstage, essentially off the record, but a source in the room told CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter that Musk reinforced his decision to try to get out of the deal and claim it’s all about the bots.
“Musk originally said he was going to fix the bot issue,” Stelter told Reliable Sources on Sunday. “The very problem that he now says prevents him from doing the deal.”
New York Times reporter Lauren Hirsch said there has been an interesting confluence of events since news of Musk’s offer first broke. The stock market “basically fell off the cliff,” including Tesla stock, which Musk presumably relied on to fund much of the deal.
That may be part of the reason Musk has apparently been doubting that his takeover offer would go through, almost from the moment he made it. “He threw daggers and then walked away and we never knew what his intention was,” Hirsch said.
At least until Friday, when Musk’s attorney sent a letter to Twitter saying he is withdrawing from the deal because the social media platform is “in material breach of multiple provisions” of the original agreement.
Twitter, for its part, strikes back, pledging to take Musk to court.
And some have questioned whether Musk’s concerns about bots are just an excuse to get out of the deal.
Washington Post national correspondent Philip Bump said it’s hard to say what his true motives are, but he admitted that Musk is an “eccentric character.”
“I’m a little fascinated by the repercussions of his announcement which quickly became entangled in American politics,” Bump said.
Twitter was perceived by some as an “elite leftist organization” that was now going to be taken over and reshaped by a libertarian conservative.
A potential beneficiary of a Musk takeover of Twitter, former President Donald Trump, who was banned from the platform following the Jan. 6 violence on Capitol Hill, recently took to the stage in a political rally in alaska and called Musk a “bullshit artist,” calling his decision to pull out of the Twitter deal “rotten.”
One of the big questions now is what will happen to Twitter, from its employees to its ad revenue to its share price.
The saga has been going on since April, and employees still don’t know who their boss will be, said Insider chief media correspondent Claire Atkinson.
“If you’re considering advertising on the platform, you’ll want to know ‘Is this product right?'” Atkinson said. “And what are your rules?”
Stelter said bots are definitely a problem for Twitter, though it’s not yet clear how prevalent they are. But Musk may be more affected by them than the average user.
“I suspect what’s going on here is that Musk has a very different experience on Twitter than the average user,” Stelter said. “He is overwhelmed by BS responses and spam.”