Twitter claims Musk is ‘under investigation’ over merger deal, and it wants the documents

Elon Musk To Buy Twitter

Scott Olson

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) claims that billionaire Elon Musk is under federal investigation over his on-again/off-again attempt to take the social-media giant private, and the firm wants correspondence his team exchanged with the SEC and FTC over the matter.

“Elon Musk is presently under investigation by federal authorities for his conduct in connection with the acquisition of Twitter,” TWTR wrote in a Delaware state court filing made public late Thursday. “Through counsel, he has exchanged substantive correspondence with those authorities concerning their investigations. Twitter wants those documents.”

Musk agreed in April to buy Twitter (TWTR) for $44B, then tried to back out of the deal – prompting the social-media giant to sue him in Delaware state court to force the acquisition to go forward.

However, Musk last week changed his mind again and renewed his plan to buy TWTR at the previously agreed-to $54.20 a share. TWTR shares closed Thursday at $50.34.

A judge had scheduled a trial on Twitter’s lawsuit to begin next week, but postponed the session after Musk announced his intention to close the deal after all.

The court gave the parties until Oct. 28 to complete the merger if they want to avoid trial. The court document made public Thursday was filed on Oct. 6, the same day that the judge paused the proceedings.

The social-media giant’s lawyers wrote in their Oct. 6 filing that Musk attorneys provided information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission regarding the deal, but refused to give Twitter (TWTR) copies.

Twitter (TWTR) said Musk’s team cited “investigative privilege” in withholding the material. However, the social-media giant countered in its filing that the documents “bear upon key issues” in its lawsuit against Musk, so the billionaire should turn them over.

It’s unclear whether the Oct. 6 filing refers to previously disclosed investigations into Musk’s conduct during the TWTR saga or to new probes.

Musk’s lawyers have previously disclosed that the SEC sought additional information about a tweet that the billionaire – who also serves as CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – wrote on May 17 saying that the TWTR deal “cannot move forward.”

Meanwhile, an April published report indicated that the FTC was investigating whether Musk failed to comply with antitrust rules as he built up a 9% stake in Twitter (TWTR) before offering to buy the entire company.

The FTC can review mergers for antitrust issues, but took no action on Musk’s TWTR offer before the deadline for blocking the deal expired in June.

Seeking Alpha contributor Chris DeMuth Jr. recently examined what could still go wrong with the Musk/TWTR deal and how investors should play to situation.

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