Twitter’s attempt to force Elon Musk to complete his $44bn takeover has been fast-tracked to October, with the social media titan arguing that any further delay would cause damage to the business.
The ruling from chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery this afternoon marks the first major win for Twitter, with its lawyers arguing that a speedy trial was necessary.
As reported by the Financial Times, Bill Savitt of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a lawyer for Twitter, said in court that Musk’s actions were “sabotage”.
“He is doing his best to run Twitter down. He’s doing his best to create jeopardy for Twitter, is doing his best to create exposure for Twitter, and he’s doing that as a way to try to get out of the contract he promised to consummate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Musk’s lawyers called the proposed timetable “preposterous,” pushing for the trial to start next year due to the amount of data and information that would have to be examined in the case.
Earlier this month the world’s richest man announced that he would be walking away from the mega deal, citing the Silicon Valley’s firm lack of clarity over spam and bot accounts.
Twitter later filed a lawsuit in Delaware, with chairman Bret Taylor stating on social media that he wanted to “hold Elon Musk accountable to his contractual obligations”.
The lawsuit said: “Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play, and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, [Mr] Musk apparently believes that he – unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law – is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away”.
Twitter went on to accuse the serial entrepreneur of pulling out the deal because it “no longer serves his personal interests”, and his exit strategy is “a model of hypocrisy”.
“The value of Mr Musk’s stake in Tesla, the anchor of his personal wealth, has declined by more than $100bn from its November 2021 peak. So [Mr] Musk wants out,” it said.
“Rather than bear the cost of the market downturn, as the merger agreement requires, [Mr] Musk wants to shift it to Twitter’s stockholders,” the lawsuit added.
The argument is that once the market declined and fixed-deal became less attractive, Musk shifted the narrative towards bots.
“We are pleased that the court agreed to expedite this trial,” a Twitter spokesperson told Reuters.