Elon Musk may be fighting tooth and nail to get out of his deal to buy Twitter, but the social media company’s shareholders plan to keep him around.
The vast majority of Twitter ( TWTR ) shareholders voted Tuesday in favor of Musk̵[ads1]7;s $44 billion takeover deal, valued at $54.20 per share. The company’s stock opened Tuesday at just under $41 a share, nearly 25% below the deal price.
A preliminary count indicated that 98.6% of votes cast on Tuesday were in favor of the deal, Twitter said in a statement.
“Twitter is ready and willing to complete the merger with affiliates of Mr. Musk immediately, and in any event no later than September 15, 2022, the second business day after all conditions are satisfied, which is the timeline required by the merger agreement.”
The vote came days after Musk’s third letter to Twitter seeking to end their deal, with this one linked to an alleged $7.75 million severance payment the company paid to its former chief security officer, Peiter Zatko, who later blew the whistle on its alleged security and privacy vulnerabilities .
In the letter, Musk’s lawyers argued that the payment – said to have been made to Zatko and his lawyers on June 28 as part of a separation agreement – violated a provision of the acquisition contract. Twitter agreed not to provide any severance pay to employees in amounts outside “the ordinary course of business consistent with past practice,” according to the contract.
Twitter criticized Musk’s latest attempt to get out of the deal as “null and void.”
Musk first sent a letter to end the deal in July, alleging that Twitter breached the agreement by misrepresenting the number of spam and fake bot accounts on the platform. Twitter sued Musk to complete the acquisition, accusing the billionaire of using robots as a pretext to back out of a deal over which he developed buyer’s remorse after a market downturn.
Zatko testified before the US Senate on Tuesday about what he alleged are Twitter’s serious security and privacy vulnerabilities, including possibly having foreign intelligence agents on its payroll.
The case between Musk and Twitter is scheduled to go to trial on October 17.
— Clare Duffy of CNN Business contributed to this report