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Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover trial set to start in October

A win for Twitter

Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

Today, a Delaware court ruled that Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk for attempting to back out of his acquisition of the company will be heard in October. This is a win for Twitter, which asked for a shorter timeframe than Musk.

Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion in April but then appeared to get cold feet about the deal. Despite having waived his ability to do “due diligence,” or research on the company he was planning to acquire, he claimed that Twitter had too many bots. He then tried to terminate the agreement. In response, Twitter sued to hold him to the purchase.

During oral arguments before the judge, Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, Twitter claimed that Musk’s bot arguments were bad-faith attempts to back out of the deal due to an acute case of buyer’s remorse. Twitter originally wanted a date in September; Musk asked for February. The trial will be five days — longer than Twitter asked for but shorter than Musk did. The exact dates haven’t yet been scheduled.

In court, Twitter’s counsel said that Musk’s conduct was “inexcusable.” Musk has held up an employee retention plan, and is engaging in “needless value destruction.” In response, Musk’s lawyers suggested that Twitter was giving Musk the run-around with bot data. Both teams agreed that Musk’s team has run millions of queries on Twitter’s firehose, a real-time feed of Tweets as they are sent. Musk’s lawyers also indicated The New York Times got a copy of Twitter’s lawsuit before they did.

After a 10-minute recess, McCormick said that a delay threatened irreparable harm to Twitter. Though an October court date is a quick turn-around, McCormick indicated she was confident the teams of lawyers would rise to the occasion.

Update 4:16PM ET: Adds details on lawyers’ arguments, McCormick’s judgment.