Court delays Musk trial, buying him time to find cash for Twitter deal

7 Oct 2022

Elon Musk. Image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A judge in Delaware said if the Twitter takeover deal does not close by 28 October, a trial date for November will be scheduled.

Elon Musk now has until 28 October to complete his $44bn takeover of Twitter if he wants to avoid a trial.

A Delaware judge yesterday (6 October) granted Musk a delay on the trial, which his lawyers said was needed to secure the financing to close the Twitter deal that was first struck in April. A deposition of Musk was slated to begin yesterday.

Earlier this week, the lawyer representing the billionaire chief of Tesla and SpaceX said Musk had decided to revive the deal after trying to back out of his offer in July and getting hit with a lawsuit from Twitter.

In a letter sent to Twitter and filed with the Securities Exchange Commission, Musk’s lawyer said the intention was to buy Twitter at $54.20 per share – the original value agreed on – provided the court stayed the trial and the debt financing promised for the deal was procured.

Judge Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware court said if the deal does not close by her deadline, a November trial date will be scheduled. “This action is stayed until 5pm on 28 October 2022 to permit the parties to close on the transaction,” she wrote in a letter to the counsel.

One possible explanation for Musk’s latest U-turn on the deal is that it was unlikely he would win the trial at the Delaware Chancery Court. This is despite his attempts to build a case, including subpoenaing Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko to testify regarding the company’s alleged malpractices.

If the trial didn’t go his way, Musk may have been required to pay even more than the initial $44bn offering – and suffer reputational damage from the prolonged back and forth.

In his first tweet since news of him buying Twitter again broke, Musk said the deal would be “an accelerant” to creating X – an “everything app” of which little is known currently.

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Elon Musk. Image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic