Judge delays Musk-Twitter trial in win for Tesla CEO


A Delaware judge on Thursday pushed back the date of a trial over billionaire Elon Musk’s US$44 billion deal to buy Twitter, giving Musk more time to complete the purchase after he indicated this week he would drop his attempts to back out of the agreement, a loss for Twitter, which had asked the judge to hold a high-stakes trial in less than two weeks.

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors | Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In their filing on Thursday opposing Musk’s motion, Twitter’s lawyers asked the judge not to take Musk at his word after he pivoted again this week to follow through on the deal: “Now, on the eve of trial, Defendants declare they intend to close after all. ‘Trust us,’ they say, ‘we mean it this time,’ and so they ask to be relieved from a reckoning on the merits.”

Musk is worth $230 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time estimates, making him the richest man in the world, mostly due to his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX.

Musk made headlines earlier this week when he said he’s willing to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, or $44 billion—the same terms he and the company originally agreed on in April. The billionaire had attempted to back out of the deal earlier this year, claiming the social media company had underestimated the amount of spam and bot accounts on its platform.

Twitter sued Musk and sought to force him to go through with the acquisition in accordance with the original terms, arguing that spam account estimates weren’t sufficient grounds to terminate an agreement and that Musk was using that excuse as a “contractually irrelevant sideshow.”

Musk’s lawyers said this week a trial would take away time he needed to shore up financing to complete the acquisition, and said the deal would likely close October 28. Twitter, meanwhile, argued the billionaire was refusing to “commit to any closing date.”

Musk has been a frequent critic of Twitter’s moderation practices, and has suggested he would bring a host of changes to the platform, including lifting the company’s permanent ban on former President Donald Trump and turning the company into a so-called “super app” that offers users a range of everyday services within one platform.

As the Musk-Twitter trial date loomed, the Tesla CEO asked the social media company for a discount of as much as 30%, according to the New York Times. Twitter declined the deal, and another counteroffer from Musk to buy the social media site for 10% less than the original offer, or $39.6 billion, also did not move forward, the Times reported.

Twitter Shares Soar 22% After Musk Offers To Buy Company At Original Price (Forbes)

Musk must complete Twitter deal by Oct. 28 to avoid trial, judge rules (CNBC)