Twitter shareholders give nod to Elon Musk’s USD 44-billion deal

The shareholders of Twitter had approved the USD 44 billion acquisition deal which was inked by the company with billionaire tycoon Elon Musk.

The San Francisco-based company has sued Musk for terminating the agreement
The San Francisco-based company has sued Musk for terminating the agreement. Phhoto courtesy: Twitter/@elonmusk

The bulk of Twitter's shareholders voted in favour of Musk's buyout offer of USD 54.20 per share, which he had made in April, before "terminating" the deal in July citing the "inaccurate representation" of spam accounts on the platform.

The nod from shareholders comes ahead of the trial next month over whether the $44 billion deal should be completed. The courtroom battle is scheduled to begin on October 17.

The San Francisco-based company has sued Musk for terminating the agreement, while the Tesla chief executive countersued, accusing Twitter of misrepresenting the number of false and spam accounts on its service.

A Delaware judge ruled last week that Musk may include the claims made by Peiter Zatko, a Twitter whistleblower, in his case, but denied his request to delay the trial.

Zatko, who was the former security chief at Twitter, has accused the company of deception in its handling of automated “spam bots,” or fake accounts. That allegation is at the core of Musk’s attempt to back out of his deal to buy the company.

Zatko has also claimed that Twitter is plagued by weak cyber defenses that make it vulnerable to exploitation by “teenagers, thieves and spies” and put the privacy of its users at risk.

Appearing before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on September 13 to lay out his allegations, Zatko said, "I am here today because Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators and even its own board of directors."

“They don’t know what data they have, where it lives and where it came from and so, unsurprisingly, they can’t protect it," he added.

Zatko, 51, first gained prominence in the 1990s as a pioneer in the ethical hacking movement and later worked in senior positions at an elite Defense Department research unit and at Google. He joined Twitter in late 2020 at the urging of then-CEO Jack Dorsey. He was fired from the company in January this year.

According to legal experts, Zatko's claims could tilt the courtroom battle in Musk's favour. If the whistleblower’s claims hold water, "that’s just the kind of smoking gun Musk had to be pinning his hopes on," said Larry Hamermesh, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, according to Bloomberg.

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