Twitter ‘not taking yes for an answer’ on $44bn deal, Musk claims

Elon Musk has asked a Delaware judge to put his legal battle with Twitter on hold, accusing the social media group of “not taking yes for an answer” as he attempts to close his $44bn buyout of the platform.

On Monday, the billionaire entrepreneur proposed buying Twitter at the originally agreed price of $54.20 per share, on the condition that litigation over his previous attempt to walk away from the deal is stayed.

In a court filing on Thursday, lawyers for Musk said that the debt financing parties were “working cooperatively to fund the close” of the deal, which they expected to take place “on or around October 28”. 

However, Musk’s lawyers accused Twitter of resisting a halt to the litigation “based on the theoretical possibility of a future failure to obtain the debt financing”.

Twitter had so far insisted “on proceeding with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal at risk and gambling with their stockholders’ interests”, they added.

A trial is scheduled to begin on October 17 in a Delaware court.

Twitter has been leery of Musk, who has already tried to walk away from the deal, which was initially agreed in April, citing concerns over fake accounts. He took many by surprise when he indicated earlier this week that he intended to close the deal on the original terms.

According to several people familiar with the situation, the company has so far resisted quickly agreeing to a halt the trial until it is certain it could bind Musk to keeping his word this time.

Late on Wednesday, Twitter agreed to delay a Musk deposition scheduled for Thursday while negotiations continue.

Musk’s lawyers said in the filing that the financing remained on course, but added that should it fail he could then get out of his obligation to close the deal, a position that Twitter would be likely to contest.

Separately on Thursday, a lawyer for Musk, Alex Spiro, disputed reports that Musk had previously approached Twitter about a price cut, which the company refused. According to Spiro, Twitter had offered Musk “billions off the traction price” but Musk refused “because Twitter attempted to put certain self-serving conditions on the deal”. 

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

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