Twitter Inc. was ordered to hand over more information about spam and bot accounts to Elon Musk as part of its legal fight to make the billionaire complete his $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform.
Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick on Thursday ruled that Twitter must turn over information about 9,000 accounts it surveyed last year in hopes of identifying which had human beings attached to them. Twitter sought to deny Musk access to this "historical snapshot" on privacy and other grounds.
Twitter also "must produce documents sufficient to show how those 9,000 accounts were selected for review," McCormick said in her ruling. At a hearing on Wednesday, Musk's lawyers accused their Twitter counterparts of stonewalling them on the bots information in pre-trial information exchanges.
Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
"We look forward to reviewing the data Twitter has been hiding for many months," Alex Spiro, a lawyer representing Musk, said in an emailed statement.
Musk has said misleading information put out by Twitter about the number of spam and bot accounts gives him a valid reason to exit his $54.20-per-share bid for the platform.
The ruling on the account survey was only one of multiple orders McCormick issued Thursday to resolve discovery issues raised by both sides in the case. The judge didn't give Musk everything he wanted on the bots issue, noting his demands for the data were "absurdly broad."
She also ruled Twitter didn't have to broaden the date range of the documents it's offering to Musk on the question of whether spam and robot accounts make up more than the 5% disclosed in the firm's securities' filings. Both sides are jockeying for position as they prepare for an Oct. 17 trial, sending out a torrent of subpoenas to equity investors, advisers and banks involved in the proposed acquisition.
The case is Twitter v. Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).