Attorneys who represent social media platform Twitter have accused Tesla CEO Elon Musk of trying to “sabotage” the $44 million agreement to buy out the platform on Tuesday during the first hearing in a lawsuit that is designed to force the billionaire to complete the deal.
Legal teams representing both Musk and Twitter came face-to-face in court on Tuesday to argue over how soon the lawsuit will go to trial. The lawyers representing Twitter want to speed up the process and want a four-day trial to take place in September.
According to TheBlaze, attorneys for the SpaceX billionaire say there’s no reason to go so fast and want the trial set for February 2023.
William Savitt, who is the lead counsel for social media giant Twitter, put Musk on full blast, making a strong argument against delaying the proceedings, according to information gleaned from a CNN report. Savitt stated that stretching out uncertainty over the deal and the subsequent lawsuit “inflicts harm on Twitter every day, every hour and every day.”
Savitt then went on to accuse Musk of violating the agreement by disparaging Twitter on the platform itself.
“Musk has been and remains contractually obligated to use his best efforts to close this deal,” Savitt stated. “What he’s doing is the exact opposite; it’s sabotage.”
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TheBlaze report went on to say, “Fewer than three months after Twitter Inc. announced it had accepted Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, the billionaire businessman attempted to back out of the deal. On July 8, Musk’s attorney Mike Ringler alleged in a letter that Twitter had failed to meet its contractual obligation to turn over information that would let Musk assess how many fake or spam accounts are on the platform.”
Twitter has estimated that somewhere around five percent of the users on their platform are bots — fake accounts — however, Musk has stated that he believes the number is significantly higher, more likely around 20 percent.
“Twitter responded with a lawsuit seeking to force Musk to complete the deal. The company alleged that Musk was using bots as a pretext to pull out of a purchase he felt buyer’s remorse for. It is asking the court to force Musk to hold up his end of the bargain,” the report revealed.
Here’s a bit more info from TheBlaze:
Tuesday’s dispute over the timing of the trial reflects the different priorities of the two parties. Twitter reportedly said a speedy trial is needed to complete the deal before a “drop dead” date of October 24, when both sides had previously agreed to complete the transaction, and to “protect Twitter and its stockholders from the continuing market risk and operational harm resulting from Musk’s attempt to bully his way out of an airtight merger agreement.”
Musk’s attorneys have accused Twitter of asking for an “extreme expedition” and asserted that more time is needed for discovery of the bot question. They also refuted Twitter’s point about the “drop dead” date, arguing the agreement stipulated that if either party filed litigation over the deal, it would no longer apply.
Savitt then responded by informing Judge Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick that there was no reason to wait for months of discovery in order to gather claims concerning the question of bots and fake users, which he then stated is “emphatically and plainly not before the court in this case.”
“Nothing in the merger agreement turns on that question, there is no representation or warranty in the merger that is related to how many false accounts there may be on Twitter,” Savitt went on to say.
He then added that if fake accounts were a major concern, “Musk could have conducted diligence about this issue” before he made the agreement to purchase Twitter, but he didn’t do that.
McCormick is expected to issue some kind of decision regarding when the trial is going to take place at a later date.
It’s also been reported that Musk will pay a $1 billion fine to Twitter if the deal falls through.
Wow. What a mess this has turned into.