Elon Musk has countersued Twitter, escalating his legal fight against the social media company over its attempt to walk away from the $44 billion purchase.
Musk’s suit was filed Friday, hours after Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware chancery court ordered a five-day trial beginning Oct. 17 to determine whether Musk can back out of the deal.
The businessman’s 164-page document was not publicly available, however, according to court rules, a redacted version could soon be published.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also on Friday, Musk was sued by a Twitter shareholder who asked the court to order the billionaire to close the deal, find that he breached his fiduciary duty to Twitter shareholders and award compensation for losses caused.
The lawsuit, which seeks class status, alleges that Musk owes a fiduciary duty to Twitter shareholders because of his 9.6% stake in the company and because the acquisition deal gives him the right to veto many of Twitter’s decisions. the company. The lawsuit was filed by Luigi Crispo, owner of 5,500 shares of Twitter, in the chancellery court.
Musk, the world’s richest person and CEO of Tesla, said on July 8 that he was abandon acquisition and blamed Twitter for violating the agreement by misrepresenting the number of fake accounts on its platform.
Twitter sued days later, calling the fake account a distraction and saying that Musk was bound by the merger contract to close the deal at $54.20 per share. Shares of the company closed Friday at $41.61, the highest close since Musk walked out of the deal.
McCormick expedited the case in court last week, saying he wanted to limit the potential damage to Twitter caused by the uncertainty of the deal.
Twitter has blamed the court fight for drop in income and causing chaos within the company.
The two sides had basically agreed to a trial on October 17, but disagreed on the limits of discovery or access to internal documents and other evidence.
Musk accused Twitter this week of stalling in response to his discovery requests, and Twitter accused him of seeking vast amounts of data irrelevant to the main issue of the case: whether Musk had breached the settlement agreement.
The chief judge in her order on Friday seemed to anticipate discovery disputes to come. “This order does not resolve any specific discovery disputes, including ownership of any large data set requests,” McCormick said.
Musk also faces a week-long trial in Wilmington, Del., beginning Oct. 24. A Tesla shareholder is seeking to nullify as corporate waste and unjust enrichment the electric vehicle maker’s CEO’s record $56 billion pay package.