Twitter-Musk drama escalates as both sides hurl claims of bad behavior in new filings

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“The previous two years have been a completely nightmare of provide chain disruptions, one factor after one other, and we aren’t out of it but,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned.
Patrick T. Fallon | Reuters

The Twitter-Elon Musk saga continued this week, as the 2 events traded barbs in authorized filings forward of a five-day trial that is scheduled to begin Oct. 17.

Newly launched authorized paperwork from attorneys representing Musk in a countersuit towards Twitter declare the social media firm engaged in a scheme to “mislead buyers” by offering false numbers in monetary filings with the Securities and Change Fee. Musk prices Twitter’s platform has at the very least double the variety of bots the corporate claims in SEC filings and fewer “monetizable every day lively customers” than claimed.

Twitter responded that the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is making incorrect assumptions, and searching for an excuse to again out of his $44 billion agreement in April to purchase the social community.

Either side are constructing their circumstances within the run-up to the Delaware courtroom date set to resolve the dispute over whether or not Musk has to observe via with the deal.

The drama started in early April, when Musk disclosed a big stake in Twitter. After first agreeing to hitch Twitter’s board, he reversed course and as an alternative supplied to purchase the corporate or promote his holdings.

Twitter was initially against the deal, and sought one other route, however finally got here to an settlement to promote to Musk for round $54.20 per share. However then, with the market tanking and Twitter’s share value taking place, Musk began badmouthing Twitter in public in a transparent effort to get out of the deal.

This is a rundown of the newest developments based mostly on new, and a few beforehand confidential, filings to the courtroom from each events:

Numbers ‘removed from true’

In a authorized submitting, Musk accused Twitter of together with statements in its SEC disclosures that “had been removed from true.” By way of his company regulation agency Skadden-Arps, Musk mentioned the social media firm is “miscounting the variety of false and spam accounts on its platform” to offer a rosy image to buyers.

Musk has complained about scams, spam and bots on Twitter for years.

In a press release saying his settlement to purchase Twitter, Musk wrote that “defeating the spam bots” was certainly one of his targets and motivations for taking up the corporate.

Twitter responded in a separate submitting within the Delaware courtroom this week that Musk and his workforce have “spent months attempting to invent a spam disclosure drawback and have discovered nothing.”

Unwell-defined metrics

Musk’s attorneys additionally mentioned of their countersuit that Twitter’s “monetizable every day lively customers,” or mDAU, are “not as intently tied to income as Twitter leads the general public to consider.” They allege that Twitter doesn’t precisely clarify to shareholders or to Musk how they derive the important thing metric of mDAU.

In response, Twitter mentioned that Musk by no means introduced up considerations about mDAU as a purpose to terminate the deal.

Musk’s allegations about deceptive mDAU statistics “are a newly invented litigating place,” Twitter’s attorneys wrote. As well as, Twitter mentioned it “precisely discloses in its SEC filings” the way it defines the mDAU metric and its significance to the corporate. 

Reliance on filings

Musk mentioned, in his countersuit, that he relied on Twitter’s SEC filings to establish particulars concerning the social community’s enterprise and challenges.

What Musk does not say is that he is been buddies for years with former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. As CNBC reported in January 2020, the 2 executives even exchanged concepts about tips on how to enhance Twitter.

Musk additionally has a longstanding enterprise relationship with Silver Lake, a monetary agency run partially by Twitter board member Egon Durban. Silver Lake was an enormous and early backer of SolarCity, the place Musk served as chair, and was reportedly one of many companies advising Musk when he mentioned he was contemplating taking Tesla private for $420 a share, and had “funding secured” to take action.  

Twitter reiterated in its filings that the corporate’s “SEC disclosures are correct” and that firm “misrepresented nothing.” Twitter mentioned Musk’s claims “aren’t supported by any details.”

“Musk sought an pressing deal, undertook no due diligence, and supplied a self-described ‘vendor pleasant’ merger settlement that contained no representations about false or spam accounts or mDAU,” the Twitter attorneys wrote.

‘Stonewalling’

Musk mentioned Twitter rebuffed his workforce, failing handy over requested and vital details about bots and spam on the platform. The grievance does not point out that Musk has mentioned he might begin a competing social media platform.

Twitter attorneys alleged that “Musk invents representations Twitter by no means made after which tries to wield, selectively, the in depth confidential knowledge Twitter offered him to conjure a breach of these purported representations.”

The attorneys mentioned that Musk “incoherently asserts” that Twitter “breached the merger settlement by stonewalling his data requests.”

Double the bots

In accusing Twitter of getting at the very least twice as many bots on its platform as the corporate disclosed, Musk’s workforce relied on “accounts seen on the Firehose utilizing the College of Indiana Botometer instrument,” the counterclaim says.

Twitter questioned Musk’s strategies of analyzing spam and bots, notably using the Botometer instrument. The attorneys wrote that the instrument “applies totally different requirements than Twitter does and which earlier this 12 months designated Musk himself as highly likely to be a bot.”

WATCH: Twitter legal team subpoenas Elon Musk associates related to deal breakup

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