(Reuters) — Elon Musk’s demand for Twitter Inc. user details was rejected as “absurdly broad” by a judge on Thursday, although the billionaire will get some data as he pursues his bid to close his $44 billion acquisition of the company.
Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of Delaware’s Court of Chancery said many of Musk’s data demands were “absurdly broad” and amounted to trillions of data points that “nobody in their right mind has ever attempted to do such an effort.”
The judge said Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, has had data and documents needed to push his case, much of which was turned over before he said on July 8 that he was closing the deal in part because Twitter withheld information.
“My overall impression is that the plaintiff has agreed to produce an enormous amount of information to the defendants, and that the information that the plaintiff has agreed to produce is broad enough to satisfy most of the plaintiff̵7;s obligations,” the judge wrote.
Twitter was ordered to hand over data from 9,000 accounts sampled in an audit in the fourth quarter to estimate the number of spam or bot users on the social media platform.
Twitter had said the data no longer existed and that recreating it would be burdensome, although the judge gave the company two weeks to produce it.
“We look forward to reviewing the data that Twitter has hidden for many months,” Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said in an email.
Twitter declined to comment.
Mr Musk, the world’s richest person, has said he wants to test the accuracy of the audit because he believes the company fraudulently misrepresented that only 5% of its accounts were spam. He wants the judge to rule that he can walk away from the deal.
Twitter wants the judge to order Mr. Musk to close the deal at the agreed price of $54.20 a share. The stock briefly rose about 1% after the ruling, ending 0.6% at $41.05.
A five-day trial has been scheduled for October 17.
Twitter said at a court hearing Wednesday that Musk’s focus on spam was “legally irrelevant” because the company has described spam numbers in regulatory filings as an estimate, not a representation. It also said the true level of spam could be higher.