A Delaware Chancery Court judge ruled Thursday that Elon Musk has until Oct. 28 to close his acquisition of Twitter if he wants to avoid a trial, granting Musk a slight delay.
Earlier in the day, the Telsa CEO said he wanted to return to his original agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share, and asked the social media company to end all litigation in order to close the deal. Twitter refused to oblige.
In a filing with Delaware’s Court of Chancery on Thursday, Musk’s side said Twitter should drop the court date scheduled for Oct. 17, so that the necessary financing can be pulled together to wrap up the acquisition by Oct. 28.
“Twitter will not take yes for an answer,” the filing says. “Astonishingly, they have insisted on proceeding with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal at risk and gambling with their stockholders’ interests.” Musk argued that the trial would distract his team from securing the financing necessary to close the deal.
In a filing later on Thursday, Twitter responded by saying that Musk and his legal team are being disingenuous. Only days before a trial was to commence, Musk’s team suddenly declares “they intend to close after all,” the lawyers wrote.
“‘Trust us,’ they say, ‘we mean it this time,’ and so they ask to be relieved from a reckoning on the merits,” Twitter’s side said. “To justify that relief, they propose an order that allows them an indefinite time to close on the basis of a conditional withdrawal of their unlawful notices of termination coupled with an explicit reservation of all ‘claims and defenses in the event a closing does not occur.'”
The Twitter lawyers added that Musk’s “proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.”
Twitter sued Musk in July to try and force the world’s richest person to stick to his purchase agreement, which was signed in April. Musk appeared ready to take the case to court, as legions of his text messages were released in preliminary filings.
While Twitter shareholders, at the company’s recommendation, agreed to Musk’s purchase price in September, Twitter may now be reluctant to walk away from its lawsuit without certainty that all the financing is available to close the deal.
Musk’s attorneys said that “By far the most likely possibility is that the debt is funded in which case the deal will close on or around October 28.” The lawyers added that “counsel for the debt financing parties has advised that each of their clients is prepared to honor its obligations under the Bank Debt Commitment Letter on the terms and subject to satisfaction of the conditions set forth therein.”
Twitter said in the legal filing that the Musk parties “should be arranging to close on Monday, October 10,” but is instead refusing to “commit to any closing date.”
“They ask for an open-ended out, at the expense of Twitter’s stockholders (who are owed $44 billion plus interest), all the while remaining free to change their minds again or to invent new grounds to avoid the contract ‘[w]ithout any admission of liability and without waiver of or prejudice to [their] claims and defenses,'” the attorneys wrote.
The Twitter lawyers also alleged that earlier in the day, an unnamed corporate representative of one of the leading banks involved in the deal “testified that Mr. Musk has yet to send them a borrowing notice and has not otherwise communicated to them that he intends to close the transaction, let
alone on any particular timeline.”
“The bank further testified that the main task necessary to close the deal —memorializing the debt financing — could have happened in July but didn’t because Mr. Musk purported to terminate the deal,” the Twitter attorneys added.
Earlier this week, Twitter acknowledged that it had received the letter from Musk and his attorneys in which they expressed their wish to buy Twitter for the original agreed-upon price. Twitter said in a response to the letter that “The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.” However, this is the first time since then that Twitter has commented on the litigation.