A Delaware judge ruled Tuesday that Twitter and Elon Musk will go to trial in October on whether the billionaire must complete its $44 billion takeover of the social media company.
The ruling is the first in a lawsuit Twitter filed this month to force Musk, the world’s richest man, to complete the blockbuster deal. Mr. Musk had agreed to buy Twitter in April, but said this month that he wanted to end the acquisition. Twitter had asked for a trial in September to expedite the case, while Musk asked for a trial in February.
“The longer the merger transaction is pending, the greater the uncertainty surrounding the company,” Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick of the Delaware Chancery Court said during the nearly two-hour hearing.
The ruling is a victory for Twitter, which said the extended timeline would give Musk more time to haunt the company and find a way out of the deal. Judge McCormick ruled that the trial would last five days, with the exact date to be based on the schedule of the court and case lawyers.
“We are pleased that the court agreed to expedite this trial,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
“We’ll be ready,” said Alex Spiro, an attorney representing Musk.
When Musk agreed to buy Twitter, he said he would take it private and that the company had a lot of potential. But weeks later, he began arguing that Twitter prevented him from learning how many accounts on its platform were fake, saying the company had not disclosed that information to him.
Twitter has said Musk is looking for a way out of an acquisition as the stock market tumbles. The company said it worked with Musk to provide him with information about fake accounts.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Twitter pushed for the lawsuit to be resolved as soon as possible. Twitter’s attorney, Bill Savitt, said the “ongoing uncertainty” over the deal “wreaks havoc on Twitter every moment of the day” and asked for the trial to be scheduled for September. Mr Savitt said the extension would allow Mr Musk to fund the deal.
Mr. Musk’s lawyers said the billionaire needed more time to analyze the reams of data to determine whether Twitter accurately counted the number of inauthentic accounts on its platform.
Musk’s attorney, Andy Rossman, said Twitter was trying to “cover up” its bot data “for as long as necessary to get the deal going.”