Twitter Shareholders Approve Musk’s $44 Billion Buyout

The shareholders of Twitter Inc. approved the proposed buyout of billionaire Elon Musk, paving the way for a trial next month to determine the fate of the deal.

The shareholders of Twitter Inc. approved the proposed buyout of billionaire Elon Musk, paving the way for a trial next month to determine the fate of the deal.

A majority of Twitter shareholders voted to accept Musk’s offer of $54.20 a share to acquire the social networking company, according to a preliminary count read Tuesday. Musk made the offer in April and has since tried to withdraw it. Twitter’s board — along with two leading consulting firms — had encouraged investors to ratify the deal. The company’s stock had changed little after the vote, closing at $41.74, well below Musk’s suggested price.

The special shareholders’ meeting called for the count lasted 7 minutes, while the polling stations were open for about 3 minutes. Investors were also able to cast votes several weeks prior to the meeting, and Twitter sent out numerous messages encouraging them to vote in advance.

While investor approval was required to close the deal, its completion is far from certain. Musk said in July that he was canceling the deal, alleging that Twitter misled him about the size of the company’s user base and the number of bots and spam accounts. Twitter denies those allegations and has sued Musk in a Delaware court to force him to complete the acquisition. Musk then filed a counter-charge against the company.

The company said 98.6% of the votes cast were in favor of the deal. Musk, Twitter’s largest shareholder, did not vote at all, according to two people familiar with his decision. Musk owned nearly 10% of Twitter — more than 73 million shares — when he agreed to take over the company.

Attorneys for both Musk and San Francisco-based Twitter have been battling for weeks over witnesses, evidence, and even the court date. The trial is currently taking place the week of October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court. From Twitter’s perspective, the vote of shareholders approving the transaction was all Musk needed to go through with the deal. Musk disagrees and has asked the company for more information.

Musk recently tried to back up his case by citing revelations from a former senior Twitter executive turned whistleblower who came forward in late August. Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, alleges that the company is violating multiple legal requirements, has lax security practices and has provided misleading information about the number of bots on its service.

Twitter denies Zatko’s claims, calling him a disgruntled ex-employee fired for poor performance. Last week, Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick, who will oversee the October trial, said Musk could use part of Zatko’s whistleblower complaint in his argument against Twitter, but denied his attempt to push back the trial.

Zatko testified before a US Senate committee earlier on Tuesday, saying his former employer is reckless with personal user data and saddled with outdated security tools. Multiple senators said there should be more formal regulatory oversight for tech companies like Twitter, though nothing specific has been set in motion.

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