Judge sets Oct. 17 trial date in Elon Musk Twitter takeover deal

SAN FRANCISCO — The trial over Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover bid will take place beginning Oct. 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, a judge ruled Thursday night, putting the world’s richest man on a collision course with the social media giant.

Twitter had pushed for an expedited timeline in the matter to prevent damage to the company, an order that was granted earlier this month.

Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick signed off on a trial schedule for the week in mid-October, the court documents said, as well as setting a deadline of Friday for Musk’s team to respond to Twitter’s complaint.

Judge grants Elon Musk an October court date, in early win for Twitter

Twitter sued Musk earlier in July alleging that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO had broken his agreement to buy the social media site for $44 billion, in a complaint that accused Musk of rule-breaking and “hypocrisy.”

Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share in April, positioning himself as a champion of free speech and pledging to unbind the site from aggressive moderation tactics he decried as political in nature. He also promised a significant portion of his own wealth to back the deal.

Musk says Twitter bid is on hold

Musk also took aim at spam bots, or fake or automated accounts, which he pledged to defeat “or die trying” if his bid succeeded.

But his view toward the deal soured weeks later, as Musk tweeted the deal was “on hold” pending an evaluation of the percentage of fake accounts on the site. The about turn coincided with investor worries and economic pressure that took a significant toll on the Tesla stock, which is connected to much of Musk’s net worth.

That sparked a public battle as Twitter sought to provide evidence for its estimation that spam and bot accounts made up fewer than 5 percent of accounts on the site.

Musk announced on July 8 he was pulling out of the deal. Twitter filed suit a few days later, sending the matter to the Delaware court.

The trial is slated to take place over five days and conclude on Oct. 21.

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