Twitter has won the first court battle in the saga with Elon Musk and the $44 billion takeover he is looking to back out of.
A court in Delaware has agreed to expedite the case and set an October trial date.
Chancery Court Chief Judge Kathaleen McCormick postponed the trial for five days in the fall, rather than the billionaire’s request for two weeks in February next year.
Twitter’s lawyer, Bill Savitt, said that the social media company’s petition for a September trial was consistent with previous timeframes for similar cases.
Savitt alleges Musk’s attempts to prolong the trial may be a tactic to “run out the clock” by giving limited time for appeals before the debt obligations he made to finance the acquisition expire.
Andrew Rossman, Musk’s lawyer, argued the accelerated schedule was far too aggressive for his team to evaluate the vast data trove at Twitter, which Musk wants to review to check the number of spam accounts on the platform.
He accused Twitter of wanting to “continue to shroud in secrecy” that figure and failing to disclose the details Musk had requested before.
However, Savitt argues determining the percentage of spam accounts is unnecessary in this case because “nothing in the merger agreement turns on that question.”
Musk’s attorneys addressed a letter to Twitter’s chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, in July, detailing why the billionaire thought the acquisition should no longer go through.
Musk’s attorneys claim Twitter underreported the number of spam and fake accounts on its messaging service and neglected to provide Musk with data which would enable the Tesla billionaire to calculate those figures more accurately.
In mid-July, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk and several of his associates, alleging that the billionaire “refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.”
Twitter was requesting a four-day trial to begin in September at the time.
Musk and his lawyers eventually petitioned the court to refuse Twitter’s plea for a speedy trial.
The billionaire and his lawyers seek a court trial next year, claiming that Twitter launched a “sudden request for warp speed after two months of foot-dragging and obfuscation.”