Judge postpones Twitter-Musk trial after company accuses him of ‘mischief and delay’

Judge postpones Twitter-Musk trial after company accuses him of 'mischief and delay'

Twitter’s lawyers fired back at Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a court filing Thursday, accusing the company’s recalcitrant buyer of engaging in “mischief and delay” with his renewed bid for the company.

Twitter said Musk’s latest proposal to buy the company for $44 billion can’t be trusted. The claim came in a court document opposing Musk’s earlier request on Thursday for a Delaware judge to halt the court proceedings against him in the parties’ merger deal gone sour.

The case was set for trial in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17, but after Twitter’s filing on Thursday, the judge agreed to stay the case until Oct. 28.

News emerged Tuesday that Musk was willing to go through with the $44 billion deal under its original terms after his decision to back out in July prompted a lawsuit from Twitter seeking to force him to go through with the deal. While Twitter confirmed that it intended to close the deal, negotiations grew acrimonious on Thursday after the company objected to Musk’s proposal to halt the trial.

“Now, on the eve of trial, [Musk] declares [he] steward[s] to close after all. ‘Trust us,’ they say, ‘we mean it this time,’ and so they ask to be relieved from a reckoning on the merits,” the document filed by Twitter’s lawyers states. “Defendants’ proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.”

Tesla founder Elon Musk attends Offshore Northern Seas 2022 in Stavanger, Norway August 29, 2022. NTB/Carina Johansen via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY.

In its latest filing, Twitter objected to what it says are proposals from Musk’s lawyers for an indefinite time to close the deal and a conditional withdrawal of his July 8 termination for the agreement.

“The merger should have closed long ago, as [Musk’s] recent concessions confirm,” they said.

Since sending a termination letter to Twitter’s board in early July, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX tried to extricate himself from the deal, citing among other objections his allegation that Twitter lied to securities regulators when it reported that bots or spam accounts make up less than 5% of its monetizable user accounts.

In response to the letter, Twitter sued Musk to hold him to the terms of the agreement reached April 25. The company has maintained that Musk’s stated concern over fake accounts is pretext for ditching the agreement and that he had taken the spam and bot issues into account before he agreed to buy Twitter.

Twitter accused Musk of breaching the agreement by not using his “best efforts” as required under the contract to close the deal. It said due to Musk’s delays, its shareholders are owed interest on the $44 billion sale.

“The obstacle is that [Musk] still refuses[s] to accept [his] contractual obligations,” Twitter’s filing states. “For months, [Musk] [has] pursued increasingly implausible claims and over and over sought to delay trial on the merits to enforce the merger agreement.”

“Defendants can and should close next week. Until they do, this action is not moot and should be brought to trial,” Twitter’s lawyers wrote.

Musk’s Thursday court filing seeking to halt the October 17 trial said, “There is no need for an expedited trial to order defendants to do what they are already doing.”

“Yet, Twitter will not take yes for an answer,” Musk’s lawyers wrote. “Astonishingly they have insisted on proceeding with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal at risk and gambling with their stockholders’ interests.”

Elon Musk did not immediately reply to Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.

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