by Tom Hals
WILmington, Dell (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s review of Twitter Inc (NYSE: 🙂 accounts of his advisers did not support the billionaire’s claims that the number of fake users was “significantly higher” than the 5% he claimed when he said he was finalizing a Twitter takeover deal in July, a lawyer on Twitter told a judge on Tuesday.
Documents obtained from two data scientists working for Musk show that they estimated in early July that the number of fake accounts on the platform was 5.3% and 11%, Twitter’s attorney told a Delaware judge.
“None of these analyzes have corroborated, as far as we can remotely tell, what Mr. Musk said on Twitter and told the world in his termination letter,” attorney Bradley Wilson said.
Musk and his lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk and Twitter are locked in a court battle and Twitter is seeking an order directing Musk to close the deal at $54.20 per share. Twitter stock ended Tuesday’s trading at $42.09, up 1.4%.
They are scheduled to stand trial beginning October 17 in Wilmington, in a Delaware court.
Musk in April agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but within weeks he was complaining that the number of bot accounts was much higher than Twitter’s estimate of less than 5% of users.
On July 8, Musk said the actual figure was “significantly higher” and that Twitter misled him, allowing him to walk away without penalty from the deal.
Wilson brought up the data scientists’ report during a hearing in which both parties asked a judge to order the other side to hand over more letters or documents, a process known as discovery.
Also on Tuesday, a court notice said Musk’s filing had been postponed from this week to October 6-7.
Musk deposition is expected to be a major part of the litigation. In previous testimony, he was a combative under oath.
The timing of nominations is important, said Brian Quinn, a professor at Boston University Law School, and it might be best for Twitter to delay meeting Musk until after they have had his communications.
“You will delay your best witnesses to the end, as much as possible, so you have all the discoveries,” Quinn said.