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Twitter lawyers say they can prevail over Musk in four days

13 July 2022 - 11:00 By Jef Feeley
Twitter wants a lightning-quick trial to resolve its claim that billionaire Elon Musk wrongfully cancelled his proposed $44bn (about R748bn) buyout of the social media platform.
Twitter wants a lightning-quick trial to resolve its claim that billionaire Elon Musk wrongfully cancelled his proposed $44bn (about R748bn) buyout of the social media platform.
Image: Bloomberg

Twitter wants a lightning-quick trial to resolve its claim that billionaire Elon Musk wrongfully cancelled his proposed $44bn (about R748bn) buyout of the social media platform.

Lawyers for the San Francisco-based company say they need only four days in Delaware chancery court to prove the world’s richest man should be forced to honour his agreement and pay $54.20 (about R921) a share for Twitter. The company hopes to start the non-jury case on September 19.

Unlike some states where it can take several years to get a case to trial, Delaware chancery court generally moves quicker. Chancery judges — business law experts — are known for being able to parse through the legal thickets of complex merger and acquisition disputes more quickly and thoroughly than other US courts. Even complex business cases are often argued before a judge within six or seven months of being filed.

The Twitter buyout agreement specifies all legal disputes over the deal must be heard in Delaware, corporate home to more than half of US public companies, including Twitter and Musk’s Tesla. 

Musk and his lawyers didn’t immediately return emails on Tuesday seeking comment on the suit and whether the case can be tried on Twitter’s schedule. Musk issued a tweet on Tuesday, saying: “Oh the irony lol”.

A judge hasn’t yet been assigned to the case, but chief judge Kathaleen McCormick already has taken on investor suits over the teetering transaction. She may pick up Twitter’s suit as well. McCormick, a Delaware native, is a former legal-aid lawyer and graduate of Notre Dame Law School.

Twitter’s legal team argues it can easily show in less than a week of court time that Musk didn’t have legitimate grounds to nix the $54.20 per share buyout. Twitter shares closed at $34.06 on Tuesday.

“Litigation on the schedule Twitter proposes permits the parties and their experienced counsel ample time to assemble a trial record,” the lawyers wrote.

That would provide enough time for a judge to rule and have the Delaware Supreme Court review the ruling before the October 24 closing date for the transaction, the lawyers said.

The case is Twitter vs Musk 22-0613, Delaware chancery court (Wilmington).

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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