Twitter shareholders reject proposal to study selling the company to its users

There’s one potential buyer that Twitter investors don’t want to sell the company to: its own users.

On Monday, the company’s shareholders rejected a proposal that asked Twitter to prepare a report about how feasible it is to sell the platform to its own users, which would turn the company into a cooperative or a similarly structured tech firm.

Supporters of the plan said that a user-owned company could fuel growth at a tech firm that has struggled to hit Wall Street’s expectations and seen its stock price drop.

“With 330 million users sending a billion tweets every few days, our company can do better. Shareholders, employees and users are frustrated. Twitter is not performing to its potential,” said Twitter shareholder Jim McRitchie, who was speaking in support of the proposal at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco.

McRitchie, who co-filed the proposal with Steffen Sauerteig of Germany, said that when companies are owned by customers they are more in touch with the needs of users.

“Giving Twitter users and employees a formal voice through ownership and representation on the Board could accelerate growth to outpace other social media companies,” he said.

Twitter, though, opposed the proposal to study the idea, noting it’s a publicly traded company and has made changes in an effort to improve and boost its value to shareholders.

“We believe that preparing a report on the nature and feasibility of selling the ‘platform’ and doing so only to ‘its users,’ would be a misallocation of resources and a distraction to our board of directors and management—resources and management time that could otherwise be used to build the long-term value of Twitter,” the company said in its opposition statement.

On Monday, shareholders also approved the election of Omid Kordestani, Marjorie Scardino and Bret Taylor to Twitter’s board of directors until 2020.

Photo: In this screenshot from Twitter’s shareholder meeting, which was streamed live online, CEO Jack Dorsey speaks to investors. (Queenie Wong/Bay Area News Group)

 

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