At Twitter’s annual meeting on Wednesday, investors voted down the re-election of an associate of Elon Musk, Egon Durban, to the board of directors. The development further obscured the question of whether the world’s richest man will acquire the social media platform.
Durban, the co-head of private equity firm Silver Lake, partnered with Tesla CEO Musk on his bid to take the electric car manufacturer private.
The rejection of Durban, who joined the board in 2020, comes as the deal’s future is uncertain.
The vote could indicate shareholder skepticism of Musk’s plan or willingness to pay what he offered, but investors are expected to approve the deal overwhelmingly at a later meeting.
Some shareholders who filed proposals at the meeting appealed directly to Musk in their remarks.
Ethan Peck, an associate at the National Center for Public Policy Research, which asked Twitter to commission an audit on its impact on civil rights, said,
“Mr. Musk, if you’re listening, we hope that you’ll join us in voting for this proposal.”
According to early voting results from the conference, investors voted in support of generating reports on election expenditure and the hazards of utilizing concealing terms such as non-disclosure agreements.
Many activists argue that organizations that want to prevent sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination should enable employees to discuss their concerns in public, which is sometimes hard due to confidentiality provisions.
Shareholders, on the other hand, voted against holding annual director elections or declassifying the board of directors, which would make members more accountable to investor approval. The existing terms are multi-year and staggered, barring a dramatic change shortly.
Shareholders voted to reject other proposals, including one that would commission a report on the company’s lobbying spending, on management’s suggestion.
While Durban was rejected, Patrick Pichette, a general partner of Inovia Capital, was re-elected to the board.
Twitter investors don’t want Elon Musk?
On May 13, Musk tweeted that the Twitter transaction was “temporarily on hold” while he sought additional information regarding the number of fraudulent accounts on the platform.
Last week, the firm stated that it was committed to the sale at the agreed-upon price, and on Wednesday, it stated that it would not be answering questions regarding the agreement during the virtual meeting.
Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh, said,
“The Twitter board has not embraced Elon Musk and his vision for Twitter. So the fact that his ally has been removed from the board is not surprising.”
The board of directors of Twitter first agreed to adopt a poison pill that would prevent Musk from increasing his share in the firm, but subsequently unanimously agreed to accept his buyout bid.