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Elon Musk Responds to Twitter's Lawsuit Over $44B Deal

Elon Musk is shown in profile against a backdrop of vertical black-and-white lines.
Elon Musk.
Patrick Pleul/Getty Images

What's happening

Elon Musk's lawyers responded to Twitter's lawsuit on Friday.

Why it matters

Twitter sued Musk this week after the billionaire said he wanted to back out of a deal to buy the social media company for $44 billion, raising questions about Twitter's future.

What's next

A hearing is scheduled on July 19 about Twitter's request for a four-day trial in September. Musk's lawyers want a trial in February or at a later time.

The legal battle between billionaire Elon Musk and Twitter over a $44 billion deal is heating up.

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Musk's lawyers pushed back against Twitter's request for a four-day trial in September and instead want the trial to start on Feb. 23 or later. Citing a 14-page filing with the Delaware Chancery Court, Musk's lawyers said holding the trial next year is still "an extremely rapid schedule for a case of this enormous magnitude."

The filing is the first time Musk's legal team has responded to Twitter's lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, days after Musk said he no longer planned to purchase Twitter for $44 billion. Musk said he wants to end the deal because the social network hasn't provided him enough information to verify that fewer than 5% of Twitter's 229 million daily users are fake or spam accounts. Musk says he thinks the number is much higher and that he needs the information because it's important for understanding Twitter's ads business. Twitter denied Musk's allegations and said in the lawsuit that his information requests were "designed to try to tank the deal." Most of Musk's wealth is tied to his stake in his company Tesla, and the electric-car maker's stock has fallen, so buying Twitter has become more expensive for the billionaire, Twitter said in the lawsuit.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Twitter asked the Delaware court to speed up the process in order to protect its shareholders and the company from potential harm caused by Musk's efforts to "bully his way" out of the deal. But Musk's lawyers want to block that from happening.

"Twitter's sudden request for warp speed after two months of foot-dragging and obfuscation is its latest tactic to shroud the truth about spam accounts long enough to railroad defendants into closing," the filing said. 

In its lawsuit, Twitter also accused Musk of violating a part of the merger agreement that bars him from tweeting disparaging remarks, pointing out that he replied to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal with a poop emoji in May. Musk's lawyers said in the filing that "Twitter ignores that Musk is its second largest shareholder with a far greater economic stake than the entire Twitter board." Musk has a 9% stake in Twitter.

Delaware Chancery Court Chief Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick has set a hearing for July 19 on Twitter's request to speed up the trial, Bloomberg reported.

Twitter didn't have a comment about the filing by Musk's lawyers.