Elon Musk accuses Twitter is hiding key witnesses in the legal dispute between the two sides over whether Musk should complete the $44 billion acquisition of the social network.
The CEO of Tesla argues that Twitter has not provided the names of employees responsible for assessing the percentage of the platform’s customer base that is spam and bot accounts. The people who asked not to be named said—named for not being authorized to comment on the matter publicly.
The people indicated that Elon Musk’s lawyers had asked the trial judge to force Twitter to name the employees to question them and obtain information.
Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick asked to file a sealed letter to compel Twitter to provide the names. Under court rules, the company’s lawyers have five business days to decide what should be excluded from the documentation because it is confidential information.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the document.
The letter came on the same day Musk said he would sell Tesla shares for $6.9 billion to avoid a flash sale should he be forced to go through with the deal to acquire Twitter. That has shown some analysts to predict that the billionaire could crack the case.
Attorneys of Twitter say they will need only four days in court to prove that Musk is using questions about spam and bot accounts as a reason to withdraw the deal. The company said it has turned over all of its information on those accounts and intends to make Musk pay the $54.20 per share he originally agreed to.
Musk counters in court papers that Twitter’s delivery of bot information has not been robust and that its mishandling of that data provide a legitimate basis to cancel the purchase.
Elon Musk accuses Twitter is hiding the witnesses that revelations show the actual number of monetizable daily active users or mDAUs. As the industry calls it, it is 65 million less than the 238 million that Twitter has claimed. He says Twitter also misrepresents how many users see advertising, the company’s main source of revenue. By Musk’s estimate, fewer than 16 million users see most ads, which should count as monetizable.
The Musk-Twitter takeover dispute trial is scheduled for October 17. The purchase agreement specifies that any legal disputes must be heard in Delaware, known for its swift handling of corporate litigation.