The trial between Elon Musk and Twitter has just been announced by a judge.
The richest man in the world and the social media company are on trial for five days between October 17 and 21.
The trial will take place in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
Twitter is trying to force the billionaire to make good on his promise in April to buy the company for $44 billion (£37 billion).
The company wanted the billionaire to go to trial at the earliest possible date – that would have been September – while Mr Musk wanted the trial in February 2023.
Mr Musk’s exit from the deal would be “void and unlawful,” Twitter says, claiming Mr Musk “apparently believes that, unlike any other party subject to Delaware contract law, he is free to change his mind, ruin the company and disrupt its operations, destroy shareholder value and walk away”.
Twitter earlier this month filed a lawsuit against Mr Musk, arguing the tech billionaire has a legal obligation to make the purchase, despite claims from the Tesla boss that he was misrepresented by the number of bots on the platforms and was therefore in his right to walk away from the deal.
“Twitter failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr Musk’s requests, sometimes it has refused them for seemingly unjustified reasons, and sometimes it has claimed to do so while giving Mr Musk incomplete or unusable information,” Mr Musk’s attorney said in one Letter to the Twitter board.
Twitter then filed with the Delaware Chancery Court. Mr Musk responded to the news via a tweet: “Oh the irony lol”.
It’s unclear who will emerge victorious in this case, but if Mr Musk loses, it seems unlikely he’ll be able to simply walk out of the deal without paying a penalty.
Should Mr Musk refuse to buy Twitter despite being urged to do so by a judge, he “could be despised and face a daily fine until he complies,” according to Brian Quinn, a law professor at Boston College who spoke about teaches the law in relation to mergers and acquisitions, Bloomberg said. “For Musk, that would have to be a pretty big number.”
Tesla, which Mr Musk owns, is also a Delaware company – and as such could open up the unprecedented scenario in which the court would pursue Mr Musk’s stock options.