Elon Musk against Twitter: the billionaire risks jail, all the hypotheses on the table


Other than a pat on the cheek, the lawsuit filed against him by Twitter risks costing Elon Musk dearly . In the worst case scenario – that is, the one that sees him rebelling against a possible unfavorable decision – the billionaire risks jail .

What will happen if and when the Delaware Chancery Court judge decides to agree with Twitter? How do you force a person to complete an acquisition worth over $ 44 billion? These are not rhetorical questions. It has never happened before, and American business law experts themselves are divided.

Even more uncertain: what happens if the judge orders Elon Musk to close the deal, as agreed in May, and will not simply impose the payment of a penalty ? What if Musk disobeys by refusing to close the deal?

Robert Miller, a law expert interviewed by Business Insider, answers this very last question: “if all goes for the worse, the judge has one last resort.” That is, the prison. But before resorting to the nuclear option, the court is likely to resort to an arsenal of more ordinary – but equally painful – tools.

Simply paying a fine may not be sufficient compensation for the damage suffered by Twitter: a publicly traded company that, also due to the whims of Elon Musk, has lost more than 20% of its value on the stock exchange. And if the court were to limit itself to ordering the payment of a multi-billion dollar penalty, Twitter’s stock could collapse further.


For this reason, according to Miller, the court will choose to order Musk to close the acquisition. It is very rare, especially in cases like these, but at the same time, perhaps there has never really been a case like the one involving Twitter and Elon Musk.

Prison is the last resort, before exploring this possibility more conventional but equally painful tools will be used. The court could confiscate Tesla ‘s shares owned by Musk, which is where the bulk of his assets are concentrated. Not only that, it could also appoint a judicial administrator – what the Americans call Special Master  – in charge of taking control of Elon Musk’s assets, in order to ensure that the acquisition is concluded as agreed.

The court could also limit itself to ordering the completion of the operation, providing a hefty penalty for each day of default. “If he wanted to, the judge could virtually set a penalty of $ 100 million a day until the acquisition is completed.”



  • Elon Musk could go to prison and lose control of his Tesla stock if he doesn’t comply with a court order in Twitter’s suit, legal expert says (


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