Twitter has rejected claims by Elon Musk in court that he had legitimate reasons to walk away from a $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform, marking the latest development in a dramatic legal showdown.
In a file made public on Thursday, Twitter called Musk’s arguments for scrapping the deal “a story, dreamed up for the purpose of escaping a merger deal that Musk no longer found appealing once the stock market, and with it his massive personal wealth, lost value”.
Twitter continued Musk last month to force him into the deal, and the company’s filing on Thursday comes in response to Musk’s own countersuitwhich he filed under seal last week and which is to be made public on Friday.
The current standoff began after Musk claimed Twitter was unaware of the spam bots issue on the platform, citing it as his reason for dropping the deal. The social media company had claimed that spam accounts made up less than 5% of the more than 200 million users, but Musk insisted the number was higher and accused Twitter of withholding information about the problem . Twitter, meanwhile, accused Musk of “conjuring” the issue to escape the deal without penalty.
“Counterclaims are a story made for litigation that is contradicted by evidence and common sense,” Twitter’s response read, according to legal documents obtained by Reuters. “Musk invents representations that Twitter has never made and then tries to use, selectively, the extensive confidential data that Twitter has provided to him to ward off a violation of these alleged representations.”
At the same time, according to the response, Musk also accused Twitter of violating their agreement by “blocking” his requests for information. Twitter denies this and says information was provided upon request.
Musk’s attorneys had wanted to file a public version of their response and counterclaims in the Delaware court on Wednesday. But Twitter lawyers complained they needed more time to review and possibly redact Musk’s sealed case, saying it “largely” referenced internal Twitter information and data provided to Musk.
Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and pledging to ease the company’s control of content and weed out fakes accounts. But Musk said in July he wanted out of the deal, sparking the current legal drama.
Musk or Twitter would be entitled to a $1 billion severance fee if the other party is found to be responsible for the failure of the deal. However, Twitter wants more and is seeking a “specific performance” court order ordering Musk to follow through on the deal.
Reuters contributed reporting