Judge delays Twitter trial, gives Elon Musk more time to seal $44 billion buyout
NEW YORK - A judge has delayed a looming trial between Twitter and Elon Musk, giving Musk more time to close his $44 billion deal to buy the company after months spent fighting to get out of it.
Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, head of the Delaware Chancery Court, said Thursday that Musk has until Oct. 28 to close the deal. A trial set for Oct. 17 will happen in November if he doesn’t, she said.
Earlier on Thursday, Musk’s lawyers said that Twitter had refused to accept the Tesla billionaire’s renewed $44 billion bid for the social media company and asked the court to halt an upcoming trial.
Musk made a renewed offer to take over the social media platform earlier this week, hoping to end a protracted legal dispute that began when Musk tried to back out of the April deal and Twitter sued.
Representatives for Twitter did not immediately respond to messages for comment.
Twitter said earlier this week that it intends to close the deal at the agreed-upon price, but the two sides are still booked for an Oct. 17 trial in Delaware over Musk’s earlier attempts to terminate the deal. On Wednesday, the judge presiding over the case said she will continue to press on toward the trial because, at the time, neither side had formally moved to stop it.
Musk’s attorneys said the trial should be adjourned to leave more time for Musk to secure the financing.
FILE - In this photo illustration, the image of Elon Musk is displayed on a computer screen and the logo of twitter on a mobile phone. (Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
"Twitter will not take yes for an answer," said the court filing signed by Musk attorney Edward Micheletti. "Astonishingly, they have insisted on proceeding with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal at risk and gambling with their stockholders’ interests."
Since Twitter sued Musk to force him to complete the purchase after he tried to back out four months ago, it is unlikely the San Francisco-based company — whose shareholders have voted to approve the deal — will walk away from the agreement.
Rather, it’s likely Twitter is seeking assurances from Musk’s side that this time he’s serious and won’t walk away again.
Eric Talley, a Columbia University law professor, tweeted Thursday that Twitter "is absolutely right not to take ‘yes’ for an answer, and everyone knows why. (They tried that in April and it didn’t go so well)." He added that Twitter would, however, take a "certified bank transfer" from Musk.
Musk attorneys argue that Twitter is disagreeing with the trial delay "based on the theoretical possibility" of Musk not coming up with the financing, which they call "baseless speculation."
They said Musk’s financial backers "have indicated that they are prepared to honor their commitments" and are working to close the deal by Oct. 28, roughly a week after the trial was set to conclude.
Twitter’s shares fell $1.91, or 3.7%, to close at $49.39 on Thursday. It was the stock's second day of declines following a surge of more than 22% on Tuesday after Musk made his renewed offer to buy the company.