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Elon Musk Demands Ex-Twitter Product Chief Testify in Takeover Fight

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk is demanding Twitter Inc. make the former head of its consumer division answer questions about spam or robot accounts on the social-media platform that are central to the billionaire’s legal fight to back out of a $44 billion buyout of the company.

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Kayvon Beykpour, who oversaw more than 230 million Twitter accounts, has so far evaded efforts to make him turn over documents or provide testimony, according to a court filing unsealed Wednesday. Musk’s legal team says Beykpour is a key figure in their case because he was intimately involved with measuring how many accounts were revenue generating.

Beykpour’s lawyers told Twitter earlier this month he currently is outside the US and “therefore beyond the subpoena power of the US courts during the pendency” of information exchanges before next month’s trial to determine if Musk will be forced to consummate his $54.20-per-share deal.

Musk’s attorneys contend Twitter can force its former employee to accept the subpoena and answer questions because the company is probably paying for Beykpour’s defense. “Mr. Beykpour is within Twitter’s control and Twitter must produce Mr. Beykpour for deposition,” Musk’s team said in the filing.

The dispute is the latest in the burgeoning legal battle over the stalled transaction. Musk and Twitter have issued subpoenas to banks, investors and lawyers involved in the deal as they seek ammunition for an Oct. 17 trial before Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick in Wilmington. Last month, she ordered Twitter to turn over Beykpour’s internal files to Musk’s attorneys.

Twitter representatives didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment on Musk’s allegations that Beykpour isn’t cooperating.

Musk’s attorneys have accused Twitter of trying to hide witnesses in the case to frustrate the billionaire’s efforts to show he had legitimate grounds for walking away from the deal. Twitter denies dragging its feet in turning over files and witnesses to its would-be buyer.

The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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