It's on: Twitter vs Elon Musk trial to start October 17
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Updated The legal showdown between Twitter and Elon Musk is finally set to go to trial on October 17 and will last five days, according to a court schedule published this week.
Twitter sued Musk earlier this month, accusing the tech billionaire of breaching the terms of an agreement where he offered to acquire the social media biz for $54.20 a share in cash, a deal worth an estimated $44 billion.
Musk claimed he could not move forward until the biz disclosed the true number of fake bot accounts on its platform – Twitter insists its bot stats are legit – while the value of the Tesla shares he intended to use to bankroll the acquisition steadily declined. He attempted to formally terminate the agreement with no further action – such as paying a $1 billion break-up fee – but Twitter isn't going to let him walk away from the deal so easily.
Twitter's lawyers filed a lawsuit in Delaware against the world's (currently) richest man, seeking damages and more, and urged the judge to expedite the case and set a trial date for September.
The hearing has now officially been set for Monday, October 17 to 21 [PDF]. Legal teams representing both sides will have to finalize documents, and select expert witnesses over the next coming months.
Judge Kathaleen McCormick, Chancellor of Delaware's Court of Chancery, warned both parties to work together in good faith. But just days before, Musk accused Twitter of trying to push the court trial date a week earlier to October 10 and accused its lawyers of not cooperating. Twitter, however, denied this and said Musk's team haven't been all that helpful either.
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"Twitter repeatedly informed Musk it does not object to beginning trial on October 17 if the court has sufficient availability to complete a five-day trial that week, provided only that Musk commit not to seek more than five trial days," the company reportedly stated in court submissions.
"Twitter agreed to begin a rolling production of documents if Musk did the same," the biz continued. "Musk is the party holding up productive and disciplined discussions on the scope of discovery by delaying filing an answer."
The social network wants Musk to stick to the terms of the agreement, meaning they have to work together to close the acquisition or he has to cough up damages for wreaking havoc on Twitter's share price and reputation and pay the $1 billion penalty for walking away from the deal. But Musk claims he wanted to close the deal quickly, but couldn't after suddenly realizing bot spam was a huge issue on Twitter's site and a major roadblock for future commercial prospects.
"When the market declined and the fixed-price deal became less attractive, Musk shifted his narrative, suddenly demanding "verification" that spam was not a serious problem on Twitter's platform, and claiming a burning need to conduct "diligence" he had expressly forsworn. Musk's strategy is also a model of bad faith," Twitter said in its original complaint. ®
Updated to add
Musk reportedly counter-sued Twitter in Delaware on Friday, and asked a judge to keep the details hush-hush.
It's hoped a redacted version will be made available by the courts shortly. As a reminder: Musk waived the need for any due diligence when he made his takeover offer to Twitter's board.