Elon Musk moved to end Twitter’s lawsuit against him on Thursday, asking a judge to halt a trial that was due to begin in just over a week and will determine the social media company’s fate.
Mr. Musk said in a legal filing that he was working on arranging financing for the deal, a process that could take several weeks. He told the court that his Twitter acquisition would be closed by October 28.
Mr. Musk made his request as Twitter board members discussed his latest offer to buy the company on Thursday morning, as negotiations over the Twitter sale entered their third day.
Mr Musk’s lawyers accused Twitter of disrupting the process by insisting that the lawsuit continue.
“Twitter will not take a yes answer. It is surprising that they insisted on moving forward with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal in jeopardy and gambling with the interests of the shareholders,” Mr. Musk’s lawyers wrote in a legal filing. “Moving toward trial would not only be a colossal waste of party and judicial resources, it would undermine the parties’ ability to finalize the deal.”
Twitter is set to face Mr Musk in court in less than two weeks for a trial that could force the billionaire to buy the company. But on Monday, Musk sent a surprise message to Twitter announcing that he would pay $44 billion to the company, as he agreed to in April before changing his mind and announcing that he was leaving the deal.
Mr. Musk’s new proposal has left Twitter’s board of directors fiddling with high-stakes negotiations: one over the legal battle, the other over a possible agreement to sell the company that would avoid courtroom drama.
Two people familiar with the confidential discussions said Twitter plans to move forward with litigation against Mr. Musk until the deal is confirmed. The Board’s Transactions Committee, which includes technology executives Brett Taylor, Martha Lynn Fox and Patrick Bechet, met weekly with legal and financial advisors to manage dealmaking.
The conclusion of such a transaction is usually a normal event, during which the two sides exchange the necessary legal documents for the transfer of ownership of the company. But Mr. Musk’s volatile business has made Twitter reluctant to drop the lawsuit until Mr. Musk takes ownership of the company and his money is handed over to Twitter shareholders, the people said.
Mr Musk’s lawyers argued that sticking with the lawsuit would jeopardize the deal and that the banks that had agreed to fund Mr. Musk’s bid for Twitter were willing to honor their obligations.
On Thursday, Mr. Musk suggested he was reluctantly coaxed to the negotiating table, She tweets a scene from the movie “The Godfather, Part III”. Which included the line, “Just when I thought I was outside, they pulled me up again.”
This is an evolving story. Check back for updates.