Elon Musk has made a wild card deal with Twitter because shareholders want reform

Elon Musk, Twitter’s new major shareholder, could change the social media company’s trajectory as management fights a set of proxy proposals at its upcoming annual meeting, focusing on issues ranging from civil rights to politics, shareholder activists and corporate governance experts say.

Whatever the outcome of Musk’s $ 43 billion (approximately Rs 3,28,250 crore) bid to buy Twitter, which was announced directly on Thursday, investors with an anti-political stance have described the billionaire entrepreneur as working to undo the restrictions that Twitter has imposed on the content. It tries to promote free speech while fighting against hate speech and false information

Even if he fails to buy Twitter, Tesla’s CEO, who recently released a 9.6 percent stake, is seen as likely to vote in a way that could move the company to a virtual meeting on May 25, say people following corporate governance issues.

Brian Bueno, of Fareant Advisors on corporate governance and executive pay, said: “Given where Musk has positioned himself and what he wants to be a disruptive, compared to Twitter’s strategy, I don’t see him often voting with management.” Consulting firm.

Musk said the মূল্য 54.20 (approximately Rs 4,140) offer price per share was intended to promote open negotiations. In the virtual meeting, he will control the second largest share after Vanguard Group, which is enough to give the investor a kingmaker role in close competition.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how he could vote on Twitter.

Charles Elson, founding director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, said Musk’s stellar strength was likely to draw a lot of attention to the event. “He’s a well-known figure in the midst of all this, so it will increase interest in voting and make a big impact,” Elson said.

Although Twitter on Friday adopted a shareholder rights plan to defend itself against the mask, Elson said its impact on the vote could only be created by proxy advisers, who tend to frown at such so-called “poison pills”, which are more questionable about management.

Five hot-ticket items

Twitter has faced five shareholder proposals, all of which are opposed by management, working on issues that attract investors’ attention.

From two conservative groups, one asked Twitter to report on its impact on civil rights and the other on its lobbying activity. Scott Shepard, an associate of the right-leaning National Center for Public Policy Research think tank, one of the sponsors, called the mask’s offer “terrible” for shareholders.

Shepard said he hoped Musk would remove Twitter from censorship and criticized the agency for taking steps to ban former US President Donald Trump’s account after the storm in the US Capitol because of the risk of his group inciting further violence.

“Under the mask, Twitter should be what it should be – both from a civic and a value perspective – always,” Shepard said in an email.

Meredith Benton, founder of Whistle Stop Capital, takes a dim view, focusing on social and environmental issues and submitting a resolution critical of non-disclosure agreements for workers.

“Wrong, for pushing for his (Musk’s) uninterrupted speech, there is a risk of destroying the platform’s appeal to millions of people who need to feel safe before they can speak,” Benton said.

A fourth proposal, filed by New York State Pension Fund supervisors, who declined to comment, called on Twitter to report on its election expenses.

A fifth proposal was submitted by Arjuna Capital, calling for the nomination of at least one board member with a human or civil rights background on Twitter. Natasha Lamb, Arjuna’s managing partner, said she hoped Mask would support the proposal because it was consistent with her freedom of speech concerns.

But he called Musk’s purchase bid “critical” as a further consolidation of power on social media, where good governance is essential.

“We don’t need Twitter, run by another social media emperor. We need it run by experts,” Lamb said.

Thomson Reuters 2022

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