Elon Musk Files Countersuit Against Twitter Over Deal

Elon Musk has filed a countersuit against Twitter as his effort to walk away from his $44 billion (£36bn) deal to buy the company moves toward the courtroom.

The 164-page document was filed under seal and was not available in full.

The move came after a Delaware judge scheduled Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk over the matter for a 17 October date, with the trial expected to take five days.

“I have reviewed the counterclaims and declare that the matter contained therein insofar as it concerns my acts and deeds is true, and insofar as it relates to the acts and deeds of any other person, I believe it to be true,” said a filing signed by Musk that accompanied the countersuit.

Image credit: SpaceX

Speedy trial

The October court is a win for Twitter, which had sought a trial as early as September over concerns that the uncertainty over the deal was harming its bottom line.

Musk’s legal team had initially requested a date early next year, before suggesting the 17 October date.

The social media firm agreed on condition that the trial could be concluded in five days.

Chancellor Kathleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery said the trial would begin on Monday, 17 October and run through Friday, 21 October.

Bot battle

Musk in April agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, portraying himself as a champion of free speech and promising massive growth for the platform.

He singled out automated spam accounts as a problem on the platform, saying he would defeat them “or die trying” if his bid succeeded.

But he walked away from the deal on 8 July, saying Twitter had breached the terms of the deal by misrepresenting the number of bots on the site, something Twitter denies.

Twitter sued Musk a few days later, accusing him in its complaint of “hypocrisy”.

McCormick fast-tracked the trial last month, saying she wanted to limit the damage to Twitter.

Discovery row

Twitter has blamed the situation for harming its revenues and creating chaos within the firm.

The two sides are still fighting over the limits to discovery requests, which allow them to access internal documents and other evidence from the other side.

Musk last week said Twitter was slow in responding to his discovery requests, while Twitter said Musk was seeking large amounts of irrelevant data.

McCormick said her order “does not resolve any specific discovery disputes, including the propriety of any requests for large data sets”.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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