Elon Musk subpoenas Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan in Twitter takeover fight

Elon Musk has subpoenaed Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase for details on how the two Wall Street banks advised Twitter on his proposed $44bn buyout of the social media company, which the Tesla chief executive is now seeking to abandon.

It is the latest legal manoeuvre in the litigation between Musk and Twitter, which is trying to force him to complete the deal after he claimed the company had breached their merger agreement.

Both sides have cast a wide legal net for information ahead of their fast-tracked trial starting in October in Delaware.

In the latest subpoenas, Musk is seeking any documents and communications exchanged between Twitter and the banks. He is after information about the banks’ analysis of Twitter’s financial performance, discussions with the company about the merger and any analysis on its valuation.

Musk is seeking to depose representatives from JPMorgan and Goldman on August 25 and 26.

Twitter has in recent days sent subpoenas to the Wall Street banks lending $13bn to Musk to help finance the deal, his co-investors and other associates of the billionaire. Musk also subpoenaed Allen & Co, which advised the social media platform along with Goldman and JPMorgan.

JPMorgan and Goldman declined to comment, while Allen & Co did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Goldman stands to earn $80mn from advising Twitter on the deal but only $15mn if the transaction fails to close. JPMorgan stands to make $53mn but will pocket just $5mn if Musk walks away.

The banks are not named as defendants in Twitter’s lawsuit to force Musk to close the transaction. But the subpoenas raise the risk of any embarrassing messages being aired in public, as happened last year in a legal dispute surrounding health insurer Anthem’s failed takeover of rival Cigna.

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When Musk’s Twitter buyout was agreed in April it was cheered on Wall Street as one of the deals of the year. However, the legal dispute, as well as concerns about potential losses on the $13bn in debt financing for the banks, has increasingly soured the sentiment around the transaction.

In response to Twitter’s lawsuit seeking to force him to go ahead with the $54.20-per-share acquisition, Musk has countersued the social media company. The billionaire has argued Twitter breached the merger agreement by not sharing sufficient information about fake accounts.

The protracted takeover has left Twitter struggling with staff departures, falling morale and reduced spending by advertisers.

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