Elon Musk opposes Twitter’s request for ‘warp speed’ trial over collapsed $44bn deal

Tesla boss Elon Musk has filed a motion to stop Twitter’s request to expedite a trial over his plan to terminate a $44bn takeover deal with the social media giant.

His lawyers filed papers with the Delaware Chancery Court, arguing Twitter’s request to rush the merger case to trial in two months was “unjustifiable” and asked it to be rejected.

“Twitter’s sudden request for warp speed after two months of foot-dragging and obfuscation is its latest tactic to shroud the truth about spam accounts long enough to railroad defendants into closing,” his lawyers said in a court filing.

The San Franciso-based social media company had asked the court to fast-track the proceedings due to the uncertainty looming over its business amid the recent economic downturn. Mr Musk wants to walk away from the billion-dollar deal after alleging Twitter has a “spam bot” problem.

Twitter sued the world’s richest person on Tuesday for violating the deal, asking the court to order Mr Musk to complete the merger at the agreed price of $54.20 per share.

In the legal complaint filed by Twitter, the company tore into Mr Musk, writing that the billionaire “apparently believes that he —unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law — is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away.”

The company requested the trial begin by mid-September to protect Twitter and its stockholders “from the continuing market risk and operational harm resulting from Musk’s attempt to bully his way out of an airtight merger agreement,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

The merger agreement with Mr Musk terminates on 25 October.

Mr Musk’s lawyers have requested a trial date on or after 13 February next year, accusing the company of withholding information over false and spam accounts which the Tesla chief claims is fundamental to Twitter’s value.

The lawyers argued it would take months to obtain information and to depose numerous witnesses on the subject of fake accounts.

The filing repeated several other accusations levelled earlier against the company, including the claim that Twitter violated the acquisition agreement when it fired two high-level managers without informing Mr Musk first.

According to reports, if the trial begins in February and does not end by April, the deal will collapse given that the debt financing package committed by banks for Mr Musk’s acquisition expires in April 2023.

Since Mr Musk’s acquisition deal took shape, Twitter’s stock has fallen by more than a third from his offered purchase price.