Twitter Seeks Documents Related to Federal Investigation of Musk
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc.’s lawyers tried again last week to learn what Elon Musk had told federal authorities who were investigating his attempt to take the social media company private.
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Attorneys for Twitter wrote to a Delaware judge on Oct. 6 saying they needed documents about the probes, according to a letter unsealed in court Thursday. Musk had by that point reversed himself on walking away from the $44 billion takeover, but he and the social media company were still adversaries in court -- and their fight had not yet been officially put on hold.
Read the letter from Twitter attorneys
Twitter officials had been pushing since July for their counterparts on the Musk side to turn over “all communications with any governmental authority concerning the merger.” The billionaire’s lawyers sought to limit their hand-over of files about contacts with the government, citing confidentiality rules around communications with attorneys.
“This game of hide-the-ball must end,” Twitter’s lawyers said in the unsealed filing. “Twitter therefore seeks the court’s assistance in obtaining” the files about the Musk side’s contacts with government regulators.
The letter referenced communications between Musk and the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.
The SEC sent a query earlier this year to Musk over how he initially disclosed his major stake in Twitter.
Musk disclosed on April 4 that he had acquired more than 9% of Twitter, a week later than regulations allow and by using a filing typically reserved for passive investors. He later embarked on a highly public on-again-off-again takeover bid.
Read More: Musk Faces FTC Antitrust Review on Twitter Alongside Stock Probe
The FTC was separately probing whether the 9% stake should have been disclosed, and also conducting an antitrust review of the proposed acquisition.
Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk, on Thursday called the letter a “misdirection by Twitter.”
“It’s actually Twitter’s executives that are under federal investigation,” he told Bloomberg News, without explaining further.
Twitter denied Thursday that the company is under investigation by federal authorities.
Also unsealed was an Oct. 6 letter by Twitter lashing back at Musk’s Oct. 3 claim that the company had a whistle-blower burn notebooks documenting its alleged misdeeds as part of a $7.8 million severance package it gave him.
Twitter said in the letter it had no role in the “supposed conflagration,” saying that its former security chief apparently “took it upon himself to burn what he described as his ‘personal notebooks.’”
Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick set an Oct. 28 deadline for the two sides to agree on terms, canceling an Oct. 17 trial date, but said she was ready to hold a trial in November if they can’t close the deal.
The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).
(Updates with background on dispute)
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