Elon Musk associates named in Twitter subpoena


SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter is investigating associates of Elon Musk and seeking further information in sweeping legal requests regarding his $44 billion deal to acquire the social media company, according to legal documents obtained by The Washington Post .

In a subpoena posted on Twitter on Monday, his legal team sought information on a who’s who of Silicon Valley’s elite, including investors Chamath Palihapitiya, David Sacks, Steve Jurvetson, Marc Andreessen, Jason Calacanis and Keith Rabois. , among others. Some of the characters were not previously named as being involved in the deal, suggesting the extent of Twitter’s search for information to support its legal attempt to force Musk into his deal to buy the company.

Twitter declined to comment. Palihapitiya, Sacks, Calacanis, Jurvetson and Rabois did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Musk and two of his attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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A deluge of requests for documents issued over the weekend and Monday marks the latest turning point in the contentious and fast-moving court case between the social media service and Musk, who is trying to walk away from his takeover bid for the company.

After Musk said he was leaving the deal last month — accusing Twitter of not being upfront about the amount of spam and bots on its service — Twitter sued Musk in a Delaware business court, known as name of Chancery Court. Musk in turn counterattacked on Twitter on Friday. Twitter also issued subpoenas over the weekend to a group of banks involved in the deal, including Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.

The subpoena obtained by The Post includes numerous requests for communications, including “checklists, timelines, presentations, presentations, organizational calls, meetings, notes, recordings” related to the funding of the agreement.

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Calacanis and Andreesen were previously known to be involved in the financial aspects of the deal.

Monday’s subpoena obtained by The Post also specifically requests any communications about spam and bots, as well as information about the All-In Summit 2022, a Miami event hosted in May by Palihapitiya, Calacanis, Sacks and David Friedberg. The men host a popular podcast together and the summit was a live event associated with the podcast. Musk spoke at the event via video conference.

At the event, Musk telegraphed his apprehension about the deal, saying “the more questions I ask, the bigger my concerns grow.”

Musk had tweeted days earlier that the deal was “on hold” due to concerns about the proportion of spam or fake accounts on Twitter. He told the conference he could charge a lower price for the social media site and accused Twitter of misleading him about the percentage of fake accounts on the platform, likening the issue to the buying a house with a termite problem.

Calacanis and Sacks are known to be friends with Musk. Sacks worked with Musk when they ran PayPal, along with billionaire Peter Thiel, who is a friend of the two. Rabois was also a PayPal executive and is a friend of Thiel. Jurvetson is a longtime friend of Musk who sits on Musk’s SpaceX board and served on the board of electric car company Tesla, which Musk leads as CEO.

A subpoena was also issued to investor Joe Lonsdale, an associate of Musk and Thiel who also spoke at the All-In event, he said on Twitter on Monday. Lonsdale declined to comment beyond his tweet.

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In the tweet, Lonsdale described the subpoena as a “giant harassing fishing expedition”, and he said he had “nothing to do with it other than some sarcastic comments”.

Lonsdale, Rabois, Sacks and Thiel are also known to lean to the right politically, and they operate in a conservative political orbit in which Musk has increasingly become involved, as previously reported by The Post.

Calacanis launched a pool known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to raise money for the deal this spring, using a tool that brings smaller investors into a bigger deal. It aimed to attract investors at a minimum of $250,000. Investors were invited to express their interest by May 11. Calacanis hosted Musk at the All-In Summit a few days later.

“There are a few things Twitter is probably looking for here. The first would be anything nice Musk said about Twitter to encourage people to participate in equity financing,” said Adam Badawi, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley who is not involved in the case, in a text. “The second would be anything he said that contradicts his public statements about bots.”

Investors targeted by subpoenas could be forced to testify in court, he added.

“Most venture capitalists have portfolios of companies incorporated in Delaware, so they probably don’t want to violate its courts,” Badawi said. “If there are any documents or conversations relevant to this dispute, these subpoenas will likely bring them to light.”

Gerrit De Vynck contributed to this report.

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