Elon Musk will no longer be deposed by Twitter’s lawyers on Thursday morning, after both sides agreed to a delay as they worked to close the $44 billion purchase of the social media network, the Financial Times and Bloomberg report. Musk was scheduled to be deposed for two days in Tesla’s home of Austin, Texas starting at 9:30AM, ahead of the trial’s scheduled start on October 17th. His deposition was previously pushed back from its original September 28th date due to COVID-19 exposure concerns.
Both sides are reportedly working to close the deal, after Musk informed Twitter this week of his intention to proceed with his original offer of $54.20 a share (though the New York Times reports that he had attempted to lower the price in recent talks). The Tesla CEO and prolific Twitter user had originally announced his intention to buy the social media network in April, before trying to back out of it in July over claims it misrepresented the number of fake accounts on the platform.
The deposition had been due to take place last month
Musk has agreed to proceed with the purchase on the condition that Twitter drop its lawsuit against him. But the FT reports that negotiations are being held up over concerns that Musk could still attempt to get out of the deal if his $13 billion of debt financing falls through. The CEO has reportedly attempted to add a new contingency to the deal that would allow him to walk away if his debt financing isn’t received, which Twitter is pushing back on.
Twitter wants “precise contractual protections from the court to guarantee that Musk would close the deal,” according to the FT.
Musk’s apparent change of heart about the deal this week follows months of legal analysts casting doubt on the strength of his case. The CEO waived due diligence when he signed the deal in April, undermining subsequent attempts to question Twitter’s spam account numbers. The legal battle has been an invasive process for Musk, who recently saw a trove of his personal text messages made public as part of the discovery process.
A deposition is likely to make things even more messy for Musk. It could highlight “extremely inconsistent statements” that have the potential to create more legal issues, Eric Talley, a law professor at Columbia University, previously told The Verge.
As it stands, the trial is still scheduled to proceed on October 17th. “The parties have not filed a stipulation to stay this action, nor has any party moved for a stay,” the Delaware Chancery Court judge overseeing the case, Kathaleen McCormick, wrote on Wednesday as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “I, therefore, continue to press on toward our trial set to begin on October 17.” But given the current negotiations, Bloomberg notes that the trial is “almost certain” to be put on hold.