Twitter hits back at Elon Musk's attempts to delay trial

The billionaire said Twitter was trying to "railroad" him into buying the company.
The billionaire said Twitter was trying to "railroad" him into buying the company. Photo credit: Getty Images

Twitter has hit back at Elon Musk's delaying tactics as the social media giant attempts to force the controversial billionaire to complete his US$44 billion purchase of the platform.

The Tesla CEO announced he was walking away from the deal earlier this month, citing what his lawyers called multiple breaches of the contract.

Lawyers for the company then filed suit against Musk in the US state of Delaware, saying his claims lacked merit.

"Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play… Musk apparently believes that he is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away," the lawsuit stated.

Twitter requested an expedited trial with a decision on the timeline set to be resolved in the next 24 hours, with a chancellor expected to make a ruling in the Delaware Court of Chancery. 

Musk, however, says the proposed September trial date is too soon, and he needs until at least February next year to prepare.

He accused Twitter of trying to "railroad" him into buying the company and rushing to obscure the truth behind the number of spam accounts on the platform, one of the reasons he's cited for pulling out of the deal.

However in a new filing, Twitter argued that lawsuits like this were "routinely expedited".

"The only remaining condition - shareholder approval - is expected to be satisfied before the September trial Twitter requests," the filing said.

"Conclusions aside, Musk offers no reason to think discovery must be so expansive that a trial must wait until next year."

It also said that issues over spam accounts shouldn't impact the decision on when the trial should start.

They are "a contractually irrelevant sideshow that Musk wants to use to disparage Twitter and prolong this litigation," it said. Musk's agreement to buy the platform made no mention of bot or spam accounts, according to reports.

"This very public dispute harms Twitter with each passing day Musk is in breach. Musk amplifies this harm by using the Company’s own platform as a megaphone to disparage it," the filing continued.

"Millions of Twitter shares trade daily under a cloud of Musk-created doubt. No public company of this size and scale has ever had to bear these uncertainties."

Meanwhile The New York Post has reported that Musk is preparing to counter-sue Twitter as the latest means of getting out of the deal.

University Of Iowa law corporate and finance law professor Robert T Miller wrote in an investors note obtained by the newspaper that the chancellor was "likely to grant" Twitter's request for a four-day September trial.

If Musk doesn't then counter sue "he's surrendering", Miller told The Post.