Elon Musk is doing everything he can to reverse the Twitter takeover. After calling for the help of a key witness, the founder of Tesla asked for the postponement of the trial against the social network.
Elon Musk no longer wants to buy Twitter. After several weeks of negotiations, the whimsical billionaire has withdrew its takeover offer in July. Through his lawyers, the boss of Tesla accuses the social network of not having respected the clauses of the contract.
This turnaround was not very well received by Twitter executives. To force Elon Musk to honor his $44 billion takeover bidthe micro-blogging platform filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Justice in the United States.
Elon Musk pulls out all the stops to avoid takeover
Elon Musk quickly counterattacked by in turn filing a complaint against the social network. To finance the upcoming legal battle, the entrepreneur sold for almost seven billion dollars worth of shares of the Tesla automotive group in August. For the record, he had already sold 8.5 billion dollars of Tesla shares to prepare for the takeover of Twitter last April.
In his complaint, the richest man in the world accuses Twitter of lying about the number of fake accounts and bots on the platform. The social network ensures that fake accounts represent less than 5% of the total number of users. For his part, Elon Musk thinks that this number is much higher. That’s why he no longer wants to acquire Twitter.
” Allegations of certain facts, known to Twitter before or on July 8, 2022, but not disclosed to parties representing Musk before or on that date, have since surfaced and provide additional and separate reasons for terminating the agreement. redemption “Explains Mike Ringler, one of Elon Musk’s lawyers.
To prove his claims, Elon Musk asked the former Twitter security chief, Peiter Zatkoto testify at trial. The expert, who now defines himself as a whistleblower, agrees with Elon Musk. In a letter addressed to the American regulators, Zatko indeed affirms that Twitter deliberately underestimates the number of false accounts. Licensed last January, the former hacker draws up a lackluster portrait Twitter executives. According to him, those responsible are negligent and multiply the lies.
Elon Musk’s lawyers have also assigned Peiter Zatko. They claim from him all the documents and communications in his possession that are related to ” the effects of fake accounts and spam on Twitter activity”. The summons also requests any document relating to the measurement of the number of monetizable daily active users. This indicator is indicative of the financial health of the company.
The lawyers are also interested in possible evidence showing that Twitter tried to cover up ” security breaches to investors, regulators and the public”. More broadly, Elon Musk’s team of lawyers say they are looking for the slightest trace of illicit activities.
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Elon Musk asks to postpone the trial
Zatko has pledged to meet the billionaire’s request. He emphasizes, however, that his initiative was not intended to ” favor Musk and weaken Twitter”. The group’s former chief security officer will give his deposition on September 9, 2022.
Thanks to the data provided by Zatko, Elon Musk would theoretically be able to strengthen his line of defense. According to Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, the entry of Zatko could even force Twitter to negotiate with the boss of Tesla ahead of the trial. He describes the former head of security as ” Potential Pandora’s Box ».
A potentially major development in this case has been the whistleblower case from Zatko which could give Musk a much needed small victory. We believe with the Zatko situation being a potential Pandora’s box for Twitter it could force both to the negotiating table before court
—Dan Ives (@DivesTech) August 30, 2022
Following Zatko’s revelations, Elon Musk’s lawyers have asked for a reprieve. In order to process the information that will be provided by the whistleblower, Musk’s representatives are requesting a one-month deferral.
Initially, the trial was to begin on October 17 in a specialized court in Delaware. If Musk’s request is accepted, the legal proceedings will be postponed until mid-November. Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick has not yet responded to the petition.
For the record, Elon Musk had already tried to postpone the trial in July, shortly after Twitter’s complaint. The billionaire wanted the case not to be heard by the courts until 2023. He believed that the social network was trying to rush things. Twitter had quickly lobbied for the procedure to begin in the fall.