In mid-July, Elon Musk announced that he wanted out of the deal he reached in April to purchase Twitter. Last week, Twitter announced that it was suing Musk in order to hold him to the merger agreement, an effort to essentially force him to buy the company against his wishes. Musk, in his first response to the suit earlier this week, called for the trial to be held in early 2023.
Musk claimed that he backed out because he doesn’t believe Twitter has been honest about how many fake accounts it has and that Twitter did not give him the information that he says he needs in order to analyze the number of bot accounts. Twitter’s position is that Musk is using the bot issue as a pretext to get out of the merger, something he is not allowed to do under the terms of the merger agreement.
In a filing of its own Monday, Twitter called for such a trial to take place much sooner.
According to the Washington Post, Twitter has sent a legal filing asking for the trial to be held this fall, declaring that “the earliest possible trial date is imperative.”
“Musk offers no reason to think discovery must be so expansive that a trial must wait until next year,” the filing from Twitter says, as reported by the Post.
“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 added. “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.”
That was a reference to Musk’s frequent tweets, which Twitter has said violate a commitment to not disparage the company. The lawsuit, in fact, included dozens of Musk’s past tweets as evidence, including one in which he tweeted a feces emoji to the CEO of Twitter.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday to determine when the trial will take place.
Matthew Levine, in his Money Stuff newsletter Monday, looked at the main issue in the case.
“In some parallel universe, Elon Musk’s dispute with Twitter Inc. is about how many bots there are on Twitter. In that universe, Twitter’s merger agreement with Musk contains a representation that no more than 5% of Twitter’s monetizable daily active users, or mDAUs, are bots, Musk’s obligation to close the merger is contingent on this representation being true, and Musk has discovered that it is wrong. Therefore he is able to walk away from the agreement, and maybe even sue Twitter for damages for misleading him,” Levine wrote.
“In our actual universe none of this is true. In the real world, Musk signed a merger agreement with Twitter, and it was publicly filed …That merger agreement does not mention bots at all,” he concluded.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.