Analysis-Elon Musk deals Twitter a wild card as shareholders se

  • Analysis-Elon Musk deals Twitter a wild card as shareholders se



    Elon Musk, Twitter's newest big shareholder, could alter the course of the social media company as management battles a set of proxy proposals focused on topics from civil rights to politics at its upcoming annual meeting, shareholder activists and corporate governance experts said.

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    Whatever the outcome of Musk's $43 billion bid to buy Twitter outright announced Thursday, investors with opposing political views described the billionaire entrepreneur as likely to work to undo some of the restrictions on content that Twitter has imposed as it attempts to promote free speech while combating hate speech and false information.

    Even if he fails to buy Twitter, the Tesla CEO, who recently disclosed a 9.6per cent stake, is seen as likely to vote in ways that could shake up the company at its virtual May 25 meeting, said people who follow corporate governance issues.

    "Given where Musk has positioned himself relative to the strategy of Twitter and given he wants to be something of a disrupter, I don’t see him voting with management very often," said Brian Bueno of Farient Advisors, a corporate governance and executive pay consulting firm.

    Musk said his offer price of $54.20 per share was meant to promote open discourse. At the virtual meeting, he will control the second-largest stake after Vanguard Group, enough to give either investor a kingmaker role in close contests.

    Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how he might vote at Twitter.