NEW YORK, Sept 13 ― A majority of Twitter Inc's shareholders have voted in favour of the social media company's US$44 billion (RM198 billion) sale to Elon Musk, people familiar with the tally said yesterday.

The deadline for the shareholder vote on the deal is today but enough investors had voted by yesterday evening for the outcome to be certain, the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity ahead of an official announcement. Twitter and representatives for Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk has informed Twitter he will not go ahead with the acquisition, arguing he was misled over the spam accounts on the platform and was not notified of a pay settlement the company reached with one of its top executives. The two sides are scheduled to battle it out in court next month.

Shareholders were widely expected to vote in favour after a stock market downturn made Musk's US$54.20-per-share deal for Twitter, which was signed in April, look pricey in the current environment. Twitter shares are now hovering around US$41.

Earlier yesterday, Twitter said payments made to a whistleblower did not breach any terms of its sale to Musk, after the world's richest man made another attempt to scrap the deal.

Twitter's lawyers said Musk's reasons for wanting to back out of the deal were “invalid and wrongful.” Last week, lawyers for Musk said Twitter's failure to seek his consent before paying US$7.75 million to whistleblower Peiter Zatko and his lawyers violated the merger agreement, which restricts when Twitter could make such payments.

Zatko, who was fired by Twitter in January as the company's security head, accused the social media firm last month of falsely claiming it had a solid security plan and making misleading statements about its defences against hackers and spam accounts.

The whistleblower will meet the US Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday to discuss the allegations.

“With the Musk camp now being allowed to include the Zatko claims in its testimony for Delaware, tomorrow's hearing will be closely watched by the Street,” Wedbush analysts wrote in a note.

The Twitter vs Musk trial is scheduled to start on October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court.

Lawyers for Musk, who is also CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc, were not immediately available for comment. ― Reuters