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A judge has delayed an impending lawsuit between Twitter and Elon Musk, giving the Tesla CEO more time to close his $44 billion deal to buy the company after months of fighting to get out of it. Musk asked to halt an upcoming lawsuit in Delaware, where the Tesla billionaire was expected to fare poorly against Twitter’s lawsuit to force him to complete the April merger deal.
Musk revived the takeover bid on Monday, but said he needed time to get the financing in order. Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, head of the Delaware Court of Chancery, said Thursday that Musk and Twitter now have until Oct. 28 to close the deal. The trial originally set for Oct. 17 will take place in November if he doesn’t, she said.
Twitter on Thursday asked McCormick to continue the process, saying the billionaire refuses to accept “contractual obligations” from his April deal to buy the social media company and take it private.
Twitter disputed Musk’s claim that the San Francisco-based company was refusing to accept his renewed offer. Musk told Twitter earlier this week that he was ready to buy the company again after trying to back out of the deal over the summer, accusing it of refusing to provide him with information about “spam bot” accounts on the service.
Twitter described Musk’s move to delay the process as an “invitation for more fumbles and delays” after his arguments for ending the deal fell short. But after the judge’s ruling, Twitter reiterated in a statement that it was ready to make a deal. on the share price agreed upon in April: “We look forward to closing the transaction at $54.20 by October 28,” referring to the price Musk originally offered for each share of Twitter.
Brooklyn Law School professor Andrew Jennings said Twitter wants to be sure the deal gets done and won’t let “Musk walk away again.”
Musk’s lawyers argued that Twitter was opposed to the delay in the lawsuit “based on the theoretical possibility” that Musk would not come up with the financing, which they called “baseless speculation.”
They said Musk’s financial backers “have shown they are ready to meet their commitments” and are working to close a deal by October 28.
Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said in a statement Thursday that “Twitter offered Mr. Musk a billion dollar discount from the transaction price,” but Musk “refused because Twitter was trying to put some self-serving conditions on the deal.” He did not specify what the conditions were.
Twitter did not describe the conversations beyond what his lawyers said in court. Shares of Twitter fell $1.91, or 3.7%, to close at $49.39 on Thursday. It was a second day of declines for the stock after rising more than 22% on Tuesday after Musk resubmitted an offer to buy the company.