Elon Musk was texting with Larry Ellison all night and “into the early morning hours” before he said his $44 billion agreement to purchase Twitter was “temporarily on hold.”
Musk’s phone company records show that he exchanged multiple text messages with the Oracle cofounder on May 12, through 12:20 am on May 13, a Twitter court filing says. That’s about four hours before he announced on Twitter that the deal was in limbo pending information on the number of spam accounts on the social media platform. The tweet was a precursor to Musk’s later attempt to officially walk away from the deal on July 8 when he sent a letter to the Securities Exchange Commission regarding his plan to ditch the merger.
Twitter’s letter to Delaware Court of Chancery was initially submitted on September 16, but made public on Friday. In the letter to Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick, Twitter argues that Musk’s legal team has not provided the relevant text messages between Ellison and Musk, as well as several other communications after Twitter subpoenaed for the billionaire’s text messages regarding the deal.
Twitter subpoenaed Ellison in August, but the text messages have yet to be publicly filed.
The Oracle cofounder pledged $1 billion to the Tesla CEO’s Twitter bid in May and is the largest co-investor on the deal. Ellison is also a longtime friend of Musk. In 2018, Ellison was named to Tesla’s board of directors and said he was “very close friends with Elon Musk.” Though, Ellison left Tesla’s board of directors in June.
Twitter’s legal team appears to be building a case around some of Musk’s texts. Earlier this month, the social media company’s lawyers shared a text from Musk to a Morgan Stanley banker in which the billionaire said he wanted to “slow down” the deal, saying in private texts that it wouldn’t make sense to buy Twitter “if we’re heading into World War 3” with Russia. The texts were sent several months before Musk officially attempted to pull out of the deal in July and were used to support Twitter’s argument that the Tesla CEO wants to ditch the deal over economic concerns rather than issues with the number of users on the platform.
In the recent letter, Twitter’s legal team also accused the Tesla CEO of “destruction of evidence” and showed a screenshot of a Signal message between Musk and Marc Andreessen on funding for the deal. The screenshot appears to show the Tesla CEO set his messages to delete after a designated period of time.
“Musk deleted these messages because he anticipated litigation and he knew that they would undermine his counterclaims and defenses,” Twitter says in the filing, calling efforts from Musk’s legal team to produce messages for discovery “moth-eaten production.”