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Twitter investors vote against re-electing Elon Musk ally to board

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) shareholders voted against re-electing an Elon Musk ally to the board of directors at an annual meeting on Wednesday, avoiding the biggest question for the social media company: whether it will complete a $44 billion sale to the billionaire.

Investors rejected Egon Durban, co-head of private equity firm Silver Lake, who collaborated with Tesla (TSLA.O) CEO Musk on his failed bid to take the electric carmaker private.

The rebuke of Durban, who served on the board in 2020, emerges as the deal faces uncertainty.

Musk announced on May 13 that the Twitter acquisition was “temporarily on hold” while he decided to seek more data about the proportion of fake accounts on Twitter.

Last week, the company stated that it was still committed to the deal at the agreed-upon price, and on Wednesday, it stated that it would not answer questions about the deal during the virtual meeting.

“The Twitter board has not embraced Elon Musk and his vision for Twitter. So it’s not surprising that his ally has been removed from the board “Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Pittsburgh-based Bokeh Capital Partners, agreed.

Twitter’s board initially voted to implement a poison pill that would limit Musk’s ability to increase his stake in the company, but later unanimously approved to accept Musk’s buyout offer.

The vote could indicate shareholder skepticism about Musk’s plan or willingness to pay what he offered, but investors are expected to approve the deal overwhelmingly at a later meeting.

The vote could imply shareholder skepticism about Musk’s strategy or willingness to spend what he decided to offer, but investors are anticipated to approve the deal resoundingly at a later meeting. Some shareholders who submitted proposals at the meeting addressed Musk directly in their conferences.

“Mr. Musk, if you’re listening, we hope you’ll join us in voting for this proposal,” said Ethan Peck, an associate at the National Center for Public Policy Research, which also requested Twitter to conduct a civil rights audit.

As per preliminary voting results from the meeting, investors voted in support of generating reports on electoral spending and the potential dangers of just using concealment clauses such as non-disclosure agreements.

Many advocates argue that companies that want to end sexual harassment and other issues should allow employees to discuss the issues in public, which is often impossible with confidentiality clauses.

Shareholders, on the other hand, voted against annual director elections or declassifying the board, which would make members more accountable to investor approval. The current arrangements are multi-year and staggered, which prevents a sudden, significant change.

Shareholders voted against other proposals, including one that would commission a report on the company’s lobbying expenditures, on the advice of management.

Patrick Pichette, a general partner at Inovia Capital, was re-elected to the board.

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