- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2022

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger said Wednesday that the family entertainment giant backed out of an agreement to buy Twitter because a “substantial portion” of its users were bots.

Mr. Iger was speaking at the Vox Media’s Code Conference in Los Angeles when he revealed the 2016 deal fell apart right before it was made official. He said Disney wanted to know more about the user base, according to a report from Vox’s Recode.

“We did look very carefully at all of the Twitter users…and we at that point estimated with some of Twitter’s help that a substantial portion — not a majority — were not real,” Mr. Iger said at the conference.

Disney sought out Twitter because they wanted to get into the streaming business. The site was intended to serve as a global distribution platform for news, sports and entertainment, Mr. Iger said. 

After selling Disney’s board and Twitter’s board on the idea, Mr. Iger said he took the weekend to mull it over, which is when he asked about the bots.

“I don’t remember the number but we discounted the value heavily. But that was built into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was pretty cheap,” Mr. Iger said.

His concerns sound very similar to those of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The tech magnate had agreed to buy Twitter earlier this year for $44 billion, but the world’s richest man later tried to back out after pressing the company about how many of its users were bots. 

Twitter has sued Mr. Musk to force him to follow through on the agreement. An expedited trial over the deal is set to take place next month in Delaware.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide