Elon Musk Sues Law Firm Over Twitter Buyout Fees

Image credit: Elon Musk

Musk seeks recovery of $90m in fees law firm received from Twitter board for defeating Musk’s attempt to walk away from acquisition

Elon Musk is suing a high profile law firm in the US over the fees it was paid by the previous management team at Twitter.

Reuters reported that Musk has sued the elite law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to recover most of a $90 million fee it received from Twitter’s board of directors, for defeating his attempt to back out of his $44 billion buyout agreement to purchase the social media company.

It comes just days after X Corp threatened to sue Meta Platforms, after it released last week its Twitter rival service Threads, which has now surpassed 100 million users.

Image credit Meta Platforms

Musk lawsuit

According to Reuters, the legal complaint by Musk’s X Corp, which owns Twitter, was filed in the California Superior Court in San Francisco.

So what exactly is Musk alleging against the law firm that successfully opposed his attempted withdrawal from the buyout agreement?

Well according to Reuters, Musk accused Wachtell of exploiting Twitter by accepting, in the final days before the 27 October 2022 buyout closed, huge “success” fees doled out by departing Twitter executives who were grateful that Musk would be forced to close.

Musk reportedly called the $90 million payout “unconscionable,” given that Wachtell had billed less than one-third that sum for its few months of work on the Delaware lawsuit.

“Wachtell arranged to effectively line its pockets with funds from the company cash register while the keys were being handed over” to Musk, the complaint reportedly states.

Musk wants to recoup “excess” fees that Wachtell charged under an agreement signed on the day of closing by one of its partners and Twitter’s chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde.

The complaint also quoted former Twitter director Martha Lane Fox who, upon learning how much lawyers would be paid, emailed general counsel Sean Edgett: “O My Freaking God.”

Wachtell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Gadde, Fox and Edgett are not parties to the lawsuit, Reuters noted.

Twitter sued again

Since the buyout completed late October 2022, Elon Musk’s Twitter faces a raft of lawsuits, mostly because of unpaid bills.

In April for example, Twitter’s former chief executive Parag Agrawal and two other former executives sued Twitter over more than $1 million (£800,000) in legal bills they say should have been reimbursed.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal. Image credit: Twitter
Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal. Image credit: Twitter

The latest lawsuit against Twitter comes from an Australian project management firm, Sydney-based private company Facilitate Corp, which last month filed a lawsuit against Twitter in a US court seeking total payments of about A$1 million ($665,000) over alleged non-payment of bills for work done in four countries.