Elon Musk’s answer to Twitter’s lawsuit over his attempt to back out of a US$44 billion deal to buy the social media company will be made public by Friday evening at the latest, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Attorneys for Musk wanted to file a public version of their answer and counterclaims in Delaware court Wednesday. But Twitter attorneys complained that they needed more time to review and potentially redact Musk’s sealed filing, saying it refers “extensively” to internal Twitter information and data given to Musk.
Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick held a quick teleconference Wednesday before agreeing with Twitter, directing that the public filing be docketed by 5 p.m. Friday. It could be filed earlier depending on when Twitter attorneys complete their review.
Twitter attorneys argued that court rules require that five business days lapse before a public version of Musk’s filing is docketed.
“Few cases attract as much public interest as this one, and Twitter is mindful of this court’s commitment to ensuring maximum public access to its proceedings,” Twitter attorney Kevin Shannon wrote. “Twitter has no interest in proposing any more redactions to defendants’ responsive pleading than are necessary.”
Musk attorney Edward Micheletti argued that Twitter’s lawyers were misinterpreting the court rules. Musk attorneys also say there is no confidential information in Musk’s filing that should be withheld from the public.
“Twitter should not be permitted to continue burying the side of the story it does not want publicly disclosed,” Micheletti wrote.
Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering US$54.20 a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts.
Twitter shares closed Wednesday at US$41, well off a 52-week high of US$69.81.
Musk, indicated in July that he wanted to back away from the deal, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit to hold him to the “seller-friendly” agreement.
Musk says Twitter has failed to provide him enough information about the number of fake accounts on its service. Twitter argues that Musk, CEO of electric car maker and solar energy company Tesla Inc., is deliberately trying to tank the deal because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests.
Either Musk or Twitter would be entitled to a US$1 billion breakup fee if the other party is found responsible for the agreement failing. Twitter wants more, however, and is seeking a court order of “specific performance” directing Musk to follow through with the deal.