Elon Musk’s tabloid-worthy vacation off the coast of Greece isn’t distracting much from his problems in the United States. On Tuesday, a Delaware judge ruled that Twitter could fast-track its lawsuit against Musk, who is trying to bail on his $44 billion purchase of the company. A five-day trial is set for October; exact dates have not yet been determined.
Musk was hoping to push the trial until February with his lawyers arguing that they needed time to review the data in order to verify the number of spam bots on the platform. Twitter has argued that Musk’s complaints about bots were just pretext for tanking the deal and that any further delays will further hurt the company. Musk has admitted that he didn’t actually look over the relevant data on bots that Twitter provided in May. In its lawsuit, Twitter is looking for a result that attorneys call “specific performance,” which would force Musk to buy the company for the overvalued $44 billion he agreed to.
“Millions of Twitter shares trade daily under a cloud of Musk-created doubt,” Twitter’s attorneys wrote in a court filing. In the ruling, the chief judge of the Delaware Chancery Court, Kathaleen McCormick, mirrored the language in Twitter’s argument: “Typically, the longer the merger transaction remains in limbo, the larger the cloud of uncertainty cast over the company and the greater the risk of irreparable harm to the sellers,” she wrote.
This is a big win for Twitter. If the trial is held before October 24, the company can avoid a deadline allowing either party to leave the deal if it has not been finalized by that date — which Musk appears more than ready to do. Now, it’ll get to see him in court, sooner rather than later.