The clock is ticking for Elon Musk to buy Twitter — and he’s running out of time

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Elon Musk in front of Twitter birds.
  • Elon Musk has until Friday at 5 p.m. ET to close his deal with Twitter or a trial date will be set.
  • Experts say the deal is expected to close. If not, Musk could face an uphill battle in court.
  • If Musk becomes Twitter’s new owner, Twitter will undergo a chapter of major change and likely layoffs.

The pressure is on for Elon Musk and his army of lawyers.

The billionaire has only four days to close his deal with Twitter or face a trial — which experts say he is likely to lose.

Earlier this month, the Delaware judge overseeing the court case gave the two parties until 5 p.m. ET on October 28 to agree to a new deal or the case will resume in a five-day trial in November.

Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick is unlikely to offer an extension and would favor a quick start for the trial if Musk misses the deadline, University of Michigan business law professor Erik Gordon told Insider.

Ann Lipton, a business law professor at Tulane University Law School, told Insider that, “unless there’s truly some new, intervening event that was entirely out of Musk’s control that derails the deal, he’ll probably have exhausted the court’s supply of goodwill.”

Anat Alon-Beck, assistant professor of law at Case Western Reserve University, said Musk would likely end up buying the company even if he can’t complete the acquisition ahead of the deadline — after paying millions more in legal fees.

But, experts say Musk is likely to reach a deal before the deadline expires on Friday.

Things would get worse for Musk if he heads to court

If the two parties don’t reach an agreement before Friday, they could technically continue to negotiate even as litigation resumes and a trial date is scheduled.

But a continued court battle is unlikely to do Musk any favors.

“He knows that he has no way out of it and would like to avoid public humiliation,” Alon-Beck told Insider.

If the trial were to proceed, Musk would face a lengthy deposition and could see even more of his private texts released to the public, Gerard Filitti, senior counsel at The Lawfare Project, an international non-profit legal think tank and litigation fund based in New York City, previously told Insider.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Twitter and Musk are drawing up paperwork to close the deal ahead of the Friday deadline, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter. When Musk initially filed to end the court case and buy the company at the original price, Twitter appeared wary of the billionaire’s intentions. The company has said it will not close the deal until Musk can prove he has funding in place.

Musk’s original financing package for Twitter included $21 billion in cash and $12.5 billion of margin loans secured against his 16% stake in Tesla, as well as $13 billion in loans from several banks. But, Insider’s Kali Hay reported that at least one investor was looking to pull out of the deal.

The banks, including Morgan Stanley, are finalizing funding, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The billionaire is still on the hook for another $32 billion, but is likely to sell anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion in Tesla stock to help finance the deal, Wedbush tech analyst Dan Ives said in a note on Friday.

If Musk goes through with the deal this week, it’s still possible the saga could continue even after an agreement is reached.

On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that President Joe Biden was considering a security review of the deal, which features several foreign investors, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Binance Holdings, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the reports were “not true.” While a security review is unlikely to stop the deal entirely, it could force Musk to finance even more of the deal himself, Gordon said.

The deal would set off a chapter of major change for Twitter. Last week, The Washington Post reported that Musk planned to cut about 75% of the company’s staff. On Monday, Twitter employees began circulating an open letter protesting the potential layoffs, Time reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider