By RANDALL CHASE
AP Business Writer
DOVER, Delaware (AP) — Lawyers for billionaire Elon Musk are complaining that Twitter is slowing production of documents ahead of an October trial to decide whether the Tesla CEO should be forced to complete a $44 billion acquisition of the company. social media.
Musk’s attorneys also said in a court filing on Tuesday that attorneys for Twitter Inc. had refused to consent to a proposed Oct. 17 trial date and were insisting that the trial begin Oct. 10, using the uncertainty on a trial date to delay further scheduling discussions.
Musk’s lawyers say Twitter’s proposed case schedule was “an obvious attempt to rush the defendants” after a Delaware Chancery Court judge agreed last week to hold an expedited trial in in a lawsuit filed by Twitter.
“Given the tight deadline, the court’s guidance is needed to break the deadlock and allow things to move forward quickly,” attorney Edward Micheletti wrote, asking Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick to grant the schedule proposed by Musk.
“The defendants’ efforts to ensure this case is ready for trial by October have not been reciprocated by Twitter, which at every turn has sought to delay,” he added.
A Twitter spokesperson said the company had no comment on Tuesday’s court filing.
Musk agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and pledging to loosen the company’s control of content and weed out fake accounts. As part of the deal, Musk and Twitter had agreed to pay each other a $1 billion severance fee if either was responsible for the deal collapsing.
Twitter shares were trading Tuesday afternoon at $39.24, a far cry from a 52-week high of $71.92.
Musk, the world’s richest man, indicated earlier this month that he wanted out of the deal, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit to hold him to what he describes as a “seller friendly” agreement.
Ahead of a trial in October, Micheletti told the judge on Tuesday that Twitter had refused to begin producing certain categories of material that are “obviously relevant” and “easily collected and produced.” He said Twitter’s lawyers instead asserted that several categories of documents are irrelevant, without identifying them.
Documents sought by Musk’s attorneys include Twitter board minutes and related documents, sales and advertising metrics, and manuals and policies regarding “monetizable daily active users or usage.” or mDAU. It’s a metric that Twitter uses to measure the number of people or organizations using its platform.
Musk said Twitter hasn’t given him enough information about the number of fake accounts on its service, but the company has estimated for several years that less than 5% of mDAUs are spam or fake accounts.
Musk’s attorneys also argue that Twitter refused to provide them with raw data it maintains in the normal course of business, which requires significant “machine time” and software development to process and analyze by expert witnesses. before the proposed Monday deadline.
Twitter said last month that it was making available to Musk a “fire hose” of raw data on hundreds of millions of daily tweets.
Musk’s lawyers are asking McCormick to approve an Oct. 17 trial date and order Twitter to immediately produce “background documents” and produce all raw data by Monday.
“Given the time until trial, every day counts,” Micheletti wrote.
Tuesday’s court filing suggests Musk plans to file his response to Twitter’s complaint later this week.