(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. was ordered from its former consumer products chief to hand over files on spam and bot accounts to Elon Musk, the billionaire has cited in seeking to drop his $44 billion purchase of the social media company.
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But Twitter was spared from documenting most employees that Musk says are key witnesses to the bots issue.
Musk, whom Twitter sued him to complete the deal, this month accused the company of hiding the names of workers it is specifically responsible for evaluating whether the platform’s customer base is spam and robot accounts. How much is it made of? He asked the judge to force him to be identified on Twitter. So far Twitter has omitted the name of “record custodians” who are not familiar with the relevant data.
Read more: Musk says Twitter is hiding the witnesses he needs in the buyout battle
On Monday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathleen St. Jay McCormick denied Musk’s request in a mostly one-page ruling, ordering that Twitter must “collect, review or produce documents from any of the other 21 additional custodians”. No need to do” Musk asked.
The exception is Kevon Baccour, the former head of consumer products, who was fired in May.
Becpor was the top product executive at Twitter for years before being unexpectedly sacked by the new chief executive, Parag Agarwal. It was his product team that was most responsible for expanding Twitter’s user base — and it’s the quality of that base on which Musk has sought to walk away from the deal.
Beykpour joined Twitter in 2015 when the company acquired its live video app, Periscope, and quickly climbed the ranks under former CEO Jack Dorsey. Before being ousted, he was pushing Twitter into new product areas like the live audio space and newsletters.
The departures of Baykpour and Bruce Falk, previously in charge of revenue product, reflected Twitter’s limited position while it waited for a new owner, a state now exacerbated by litigation. Meanwhile a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting efforts have left some employees unsure whether the projects or teams they are working on will be prioritized under the new leadership.
Read more: Twitter bans hiring, cancels offers ahead of Musk deal
Lawyers for Twitter and Musk have issued summons to banks, investors and lawyers involved in the deal, as both sides prepare for an October 17 trial in Wilmington.
Twitter claims that Musk, the world’s richest man and CEO of Tesla Inc., is using concerns about spam and bot accounts as an excuse to exit the transaction. Musk argues that the company has failed to show that spam bots account for less than 5% of its active users, as he said in the regulatory filing.
The case is Twitter v Musk, 22-0613, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).
(Adds context on changes to Twitter in eighth paragraph.)
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