Shareholders of Twitter voted Tuesday to approve the company’s sale to Elon Musk, a key administrative step that’s also a bit surreal as the billionaire Tesla founder is fighting in court to extricate himself from the deal.
The vote was scheduled months ago. It falls the same day a Twitter whistleblower is sounding off about the social media platform’s security and privacy policies, or lack thereof, at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, filed a whistleblower complaint against the company with federal agencies in July. Twitter has called him a disgruntled employee.
Today’s special stockholder meeting lasted only seven minutes with no questions. The end vote was not a surprise. The board had approved the deal last spring and recommended shareholders do the same. They started voting electronically weeks ago and reports indicated there were enough to approve. The exact tally will be announced later.
Musk owns 9.6% of Twitter. He initially wanted, and got, a board seat before deciding instead to buy the company outright, waiving due diligence. He inked the $44 billion deal in April and unilaterally terminated it in July, prompting Twitter to sue in a case currently in Delaware Chancery Court and heading to trial next month. Musk’s case looked soft initially but Zatko’s allegations may have given it new life. He spent the morning describing to senators what he called dangerously lax cybersecurity as the company focuses on revenue and user growth.
The latter claim overlaps partly with Musk’s main accusation, that Twitter lies about the number of fake accounts on its platform. A judge last week agreed over Twitter’s objections to let the Musk camp amend its countersuit to reflect the whistleblower claims.