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Twitter Shareholders Gathered Amid Elon Musk Acquisition Drama

Twitter Shareholders Gathered Amid Elon Musk Acquisition Drama
Elon Musk hinted last week that he would like to pay less than the $44 billion he initially offered for Twitter (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
Elon Musk hinted last week that he would like to pay less than the $44 billion he initially offered for Twitter (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

Twitter shareholders meeting regularly scheduled for Wednesdays it did not include a vote on billionaire Elon Musk’s $44 billion bid for the social platform. That vote will take place on an as yet undetermined date in the future.

Musk did not join the meeting, although he could have, being one of Twitter’s largest shareholders.

But the drama surrounding his offer – almost all of it created by Musk himself – threatened to overwhelm Wednesday’s proceedings. Shareholders who submitted proposals for the vote frequently invoked his name. One of the proposals, submitted by the New York State Common Retirement Fund, called for a report on Twitter’s policies and procedures around corporate-funded political contributions. It was approved in a preliminary vote.

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Two proposals put forward by conservative-leaning groups did not get enough votes to pass. One called for an audit of the company’s “impact on civil rights and non-discrimination” and referred to “anti-racist programs that purport to establish ‘racial/social equity’” as “deeply racist”. The other asked for more information about the company’s lobbying activities.

Several of the proposals touched on the deep existential conflict taking place between Twitter users, employees, and shareholders. While shareholders on one side lash out at the company for what they see as too liberal a policy and bias against conservatives (for which there is no reliable evidence), others say the company fails to protect users from harassment, abuse and abuse. misinformation.

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Musk’s “free speech” edict -which has indicated that it will govern the company if it takes over, without offering details- It has only fueled the conflict.

Musk had promised that taking over Twitter would allow him to rid the social media platform of its annoying “spam bots”. But he has been arguing, without presenting evidence, that there might be too many of those automated accounts for the deal to go through.

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Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla (REUTERS / Aly Song)
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla (REUTERS / Aly Song)

The sharp turn of the richest man in the world does not make much sense, except as a tactic to scuttle or renegotiate an agreement that is becoming more and more expensive, experts said last week. The fact that the whole thing is playing out publicly – on Twitter, no less – only adds to the chaos that has been a constant in Musk’s offer, even before he made it.

In early May, the mercurial billionaire tweeted that the deal was “in suspense” because he wanted to pinpoint the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform after stating that Twitter’s own estimate is too low.

Experts say Musk can’t unilaterally suspend the deal, though that hasn’t stopped him from acting as if he could. If he pulls out, he could have to pay a $1 billion breakup fee. On the other hand, Twitter could sue Musk to force him to go through with the deal, though experts think that’s highly unlikely.

The uncertainty has weighed on Twitter’s stock. Investor concerns about the social media sector have dragged stocks lower this year. Late on Monday, Snap, which runs the Snapchat app, which includes fading messages and special video effects, issued a dire earnings warning, saying “the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated faster and faster than anticipated.” Since last month.

Social media companies compete for the same pool of ad money that is increasingly under threat from rising inflation and also from changes at Apple that may restrict the information social media platforms can collect about users, a huge selling point for advertisers.

Shares of Snap Inc. plunged 43% on Tuesday, though they recovered some of the loss on Wednesday, rising almost 12% to $14.31.

Shares of Twitter were up $1.09, or 3%, at $36.83 in early afternoon trading Wednesday. Musk has agreed to pay $54.20 per share.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

At their own annual meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, and its founding CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, faced heated criticism from shareholders.

Criticism focused on Facebook’s algorithms, lax controls on disinformation and hateful content that disgruntled shareholders say they have undermined democracy, caused murder and mayhem and have had a corrosive effect on children.

The discontent inspired a series of proposals that they intend to require Meta to submit to more independent oversight of Facebook, Instagram and their other products, while reducing the power of Zuckerbergwhose majority stake in the company led an outraged shareholder to lambast him as an “elitist oligarch” during the 70-minute meeting.

But none of the 12 proposals received more than 30% support, according to preliminary results announced on Wednesday. This lopsided outcome largely reflects Zuckerberg’s tight grip on his majority stake in a company he famously created in a Harvard dorm almost 20 years ago.

The president of Meta, as well as its CEO, and the other eight directors of the company also received a support of more than 90% to continue in their positions. The overwhelming support came just days after a major New York pension fund that owns Meta shares said it would vote against the directors in protest.

(By Barbara Ortutay – AP)

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