Jae C. Hong/AP
Almost all of Twitter’s shareholders have voted to approve the social media giant’s deal with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who had agreed to buy it for $44 billion but has since tried to back out.
About 98.6% of stockholders approved the buyout, priced at $54.20 per share. That was higher than Twitter’s near-$50 share price when the deal was struck, and nearly 30% above its $41.90 per share value as markets opened on Thursday.
“The shareholder approval satisfies the final condition precedent to the closing of the merger under the merger agreement.” Twitter said. The social media company said it is ready to complete the deal “immediately” and no later than Thursday, per the requirements of the agreement.
Musk first agreed to buy Twitter in April for $44 billion. But a lawyer for Musk has sent multiple letters to the Securities Exchange Commission, with the most recent one dated last Friday.
The lawyer sent termination notices in July and August, and wrote that the most recent letter is “not legally necessary” but that he was sending it “in the event that the July 8 Termination Notice or, alternatively, the August 29 Termination Notice is determined to be invalid for any reason.”
Twitter sued Musk in July over the crumbling deal. Musk claimed he changed his mind because the company had understated the prevalence of bots — fake accounts — on its platform.
Last month, Twitter’s former head of security Peiter Zatko filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that the company’s lax security practices put users’ personal data at risk, and that the social media company in danger of violating a settlement agreement with federal regulators. He also alleviates that the Indian government forced Twitter to hire two government agents who had access to sensitive data.
Musk added Zatko’s concerns to his legal claims soon after they became public. He now says that Twitter is damaged goods, and that by hiding such egregious problems, it committed fraud.