Elon Musk’s bid to get out of his deal to buy Twitter hit a setback on July 19th, when a judge at the Delaware Chancery Court ruled that the trial would happen in October. Musk’s lawyers had filed a request to not expedite the trial, and to have it next year, to give them time to prepare. Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick has now set the start of the trial for October 17th, and it should last for five days.
Not long after he agreed to buy Twitter in April 2021, Musk started making noise about how he believed the social network was underestimating the number of spam and bot accounts on the platform.
Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal have been publicly feuding over the bot issue. Agrawal recently made a Twitter thread arguing that the site’s methods for determining active users are complicated but mostly accurate.
To which Musk replied with the poop emoji.
Twitter is arguing that Musk is just trying to get out of the deal, and there is no mention of bots in the agreement, so they’re beside the point. The Twitter stock price has dropped significantly since the deal was signed in April, as part of a general stock market cooling, especially for tech companies. At the time of the deal, Twitter’s stock was around $54, but it has gradually dropped to around $36 (it jumped up to $40 a share after the court ruling news today).
Delaware Chancery Court is different than a regular criminal or civil court in that it tends to work pretty quickly. Twitter asked for a four-day trial, but the judge today said the trial will be five days long. It’s unclear what will happen: Musk may end up being forced to pay the $1 billion fee to kill the deal, or maybe an even higher fee. Or he could end up being forced to buy Twitter, either at the agreed-upon price or something lower.
Or, of course, since it's Elon Musk, he could just…do whatever.