DOVER, Del. — Elon Musk’s response to Twitter’s lawsuit over his attempt to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company will be made public by Friday night at the latest, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Lawyers for Musk wanted to file a public version of the answer and counterclaim in Delaware court on Wednesday. But Twitter TWTR,
Lawyers complained they needed more time to review and potentially unseal Musk’s sealed filing, saying it refers “extensively”[ads1]; to internal Twitter information and data provided to Musk.
Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick held a quick conference call Wednesday before agreeing with Twitter, ordering the public filing to be documented by 1 p.m. 17.00 Friday. It may be filed earlier depending on when Twitter lawyers complete the review.
Twitter lawyers argued that court rules require that five business days pass before a public version of Musk’s filing is documented.
“Few cases attract as much public interest as this one, and Twitter is mindful of this court’s commitment to ensuring maximum public access to the proceedings,” wrote Twitter attorney Kevin Shannon. “Twitter has no interest in proposing any more edits to the defendant’s responsive allegations than necessary.”
Musk’s lawyer Edward Micheletti argued that Twitter’s lawyers misinterpreted the legal rules. Musk lawyers also say there is no confidential information in Musk’s filing that should be withheld from the public.
“Twitter should not be allowed to continue to bury the side of history it does not want to be public,” Micheletti wrote.
Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and promising to loosen the company’s content policies and root out fake accounts.
Twitter shares closed Wednesday at $41, well off a 52-week high of $69.81.
Musk, indicated in July that he wanted out of the deal, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit to hold him to the “seller-friendly” deal.
Musk says Twitter hasn’t given him enough information about the number of fake accounts on the service. Twitter claims that Musk, CEO of electric car maker and solar company Tesla Inc. TSLA,
is deliberately trying to tank the trade because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests.
Either Musk or Twitter will be entitled to a $1 billion breakup fee if the other party is found responsible for the deal’s failure. Twitter wants more, however, and is seeking a court order for “specific performance” ordering Musk to follow through on the deal.