The lawyers for both Elon Musk and Twitter (TWTR) attended a pre-trial yesterday, September 6. During the trial, a number of inquiries and arguments on Musk’s withdrawal from the buyout proposal were made.
On the one hand, Musk’s lawyers are requesting to postpone the hearing until November, stating the delay in receiving the necessary information from Twitter. Twitter’s legal team, however, asserts that Musk’s plea is only an attempt to delay and obscure justice. Twitter insists that Musk carries on the deal at the originally agreed upon terms of $54.20 per share. The five-day non-jury trial is set for October 17.
Musk’s Lawyers’ Claims and Amendments
The billionaire’s lawyers have requested to include whistleblower Peiter Zatko’s allegations in their countersuit. However, the authenticity and relevance to the case need to be ascertained before including them.
At the hearing, Alex Spiro, Musk’s lawyer weighed upon Zatko’s expertise and recognition in the security industry, while highlighting his claims of “egregious failures” in Twitter’s privacy and digital security.
Meanwhile, another lawyer, Andrew Rossman, claimed that Twitter has been delaying the process of document sharing from existing and former employees who handled the fake accounts. Hence, they need more time to assess the documents and draw up evidence. Also, they claim that Twitter is hiding material facts related to the bots in the hope of making Musk’s case weaker.
Twitter’s Lawyers Plead Not-Guilty
Contrary to Zatko’s accusations, Twitter’s lawyer, Bradley Wilson, claimed that he had never brought up the issue of bots/spam during his tenure at the social media platform. Moreover, Wilson claimed that he was merely “parroting” Musk’s allegations against Twitter.
Wilson also alleged that Zatko had turned sour towards Twitter because of his removal. Hence, his allegations should not be considered or given weightage in the case.
Furthermore, Wilson also denied Musk’s lawyer’s claims that Twitter is knowingly delaying information sharing. He stated that all of Zatko’s emails have been handed over and that Twitter has always cooperated with Musk’s requests, and has nothing to hide.
Interestingly, Twitter’s lawyers also displayed an old text between Musk and a Morgan Stanley (MS) banker, which said that buying Twitter would not make sense if Russia was threatening to begin a third World War.
A WSJ report stated that after hearing both sides of the arguments yesterday, Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick did not rule on any of the arguments, including Musk’s request to include Zatko’s claims. She concluded the hearing by saying that both parties had earned a good night’s rest. Amid all the drama, TWTR stock has lost 9.4% so far this year.
What is the Forecast for Twitter Stock?
Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Twitter’s future. A lot depends upon whether Twitter wins the case, pushing Musk to buyout the company at the original terms. Amid the chaos, analysts, too, prefer to remain on the sidelines for now.
On TipRanks, TWTR stock has a Hold consensus rating. This is based on two Buys versus 16 Holds. The average Twitter price forecast of $40.49 implies 4.8% upside potential to current levels.