A judge said Thursday that Elon Musk may have access to Twitter data used in a 2021 review of active users, but other information the billionaire is seeking to try to end his $44 billion deal to buy the company was dismissed as “ridiculously loose.”
Twitter must hand over data from 9,000 accounts sampled in the fourth quarter as part of its process to estimate the number of spam accounts.
Twitter said the data does not exist and it would be a burden to collect it. Consultant Kathleen McCormick gave the company two weeks to produce the data.
Musk claimed that the company got him hooked by misrepresenting the number of real users in its financial disclosures he relied on to make the takeover offer, and he wanted the data to corroborate the Twitter spam estimates.
“We look forward to reviewing the data that Twitter has been hiding for several months,” Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney, said in an emailed statement.
Twitter declined to comment.
A five-day trial was scheduled for October 17.
McCormick also rejected many of Musk’s other demands for data.
“The defendants’ data requests are absurdly loose. If you read literally, the defendants’ documents request would require the plaintiff to produce trillions upon trillions of data points.”
Musk, the world’s richest person, said he wanted to test the accuracy of the audit because he believed the company fraudulently falsified that only 5% of its accounts were spam. McCormick wants to rule that he can walk away from the deal.
Twitter wants McCormick to order Musk to close the deal at the agreed-upon price of $54.20 per share. Shares briefly rose about 1% after the ruling and closed up 0.6% at $41.05.
Twitter said in a court hearing on Wednesday that Musk’s focus on spam was “legally irrelevant” because the company described the number of spam in regulatory filings as an estimate rather than a representation. He also said the true level of spam could be higher.
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