Elon Musk has become Twitter’s largest shareholder

When Elon Musk was thinking of privatizing Tesla in 2018, he posted on Twitter to let the world know about it. He got stuck in a traffic jam in 2016 Tweet The idea of ​​an underground tunnel system to alleviate “soul-destroying” traffic congestion. And when he met with Russian President Vladimir V. last month. He then challenged Putin to one fight after another Broadcast it on Twitter.

Now Mr. Musk is putting his money where his mouth is.

On Monday, a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Mr. Musk, the billionaire chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX and the world’s richest man, bought a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, the social media platform where he owns more than 80 percent. Million followers. Mr Musk looks set to become Twitter’s largest shareholder, ahead of the 8.8 per cent stake owned by mutual-fund company Vanguard and the 2.3 per cent stake held by former Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey.

Mr Musk’s Twitter investment, which he has been accumulating since at least last month, is worth about $ 2.89 billion, based on the closing price of the company’s stock on Friday. But by the end of Monday, Twitter’s share price had risen more than 26 percent since the news of its purchase, valued at about $ 3.6 billion. The shares are a fraction of Mr Musk’s reported মূল 270 billion-plus net worth.

Despite his penchant for sharing everything on Twitter – starting with business ideas, insults and memes, this past weekend, his experience at a famous Berlin nightclub – Mr. Musk was at least initially unusually silent about buying company shares.

“Oh hi lol” she said Tweet News of his investment spread across Twitter on Monday without elaborating. Mr Musk, 50, did not respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined to comment.

Mr. Musk shopped on Twitter at a fine time for a San Francisco-based company. Mr Dorsey resigned as chief executive in November and plans to leave the company’s board at the end of his term this year, after dropping an active shareholder and facing criticism from lawmakers and regulators over free speech, censorship and toxic content.

Mr Dorsey handed over the reins to Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer Parag Agarwal, who cut a lower profile in Silicon Valley than Mr Dorsey. Mr. Agarwal has restructured the executive position of the company. He is also deeply interested in a “decentralized” version of Twitter, one of Mr Dorsey’s last pet projects at the company.

As part of that effort, Twitter will hand over power online to its users and challenge behemoths like Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is financing an independent effort to create a so-called open protocol for social media, weaving cryptocurrency into its app and opening it up to those who want to create custom features for Twitter.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. He has criticized the company for failing to adhere to the free speech policy in recent weeks, arguing that users should be allowed to choose or create their own algorithms without relying on Twitter. To curate the post.

The idea was that one Mr. Dorsey became a champion while leading on Twitter. “The choice of which algorithm to use (or not to use) should be open to all,” he said in response to a tweet from Mr Musk last month, pushing for algorithms that outsiders could build for the platform.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post He submitted a securities document called a 13G filing, indicating that he planned to deactivate the investment and that he did not want to follow the company’s control.

But Wall Street has already begun speculating that Mr Musk could change his investment status, continue buying shares on Twitter or try to acquire the company directly.

Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wadebush Securities, said: “We expect this passive stack to be the beginning of a broader conversation with the Twitter board / management that could eventually lead to an active partnership and potentially more aggressive ownership of Twitter.” Monday morning.

Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Law, said the filing allowed Mr. Musk to “conceal any motives he may have regarding Twitter.” But, he added, filing as a “passive investor” with the real intention of pushing for control by changing the types of filing is “fraudulent”, although rarely judged and difficult to prove.

Mr. Musk’s long and complicated personal relationship with Twitter has already caused him problems, and his tweets about Tesla’s finances have led to legal disputes with the SEC.

If Mr Musk pushes for change on Twitter, he may not be the first excited investor to oppose the company. Activist firm Elliott Management took a stand on Twitter and called for Mr Dorsey’s removal in 2020. It later struck a deal with Twitter that included a ই 1 billion investment from private equity firm Silver Lake and brought in new Silver Lake board members. Co-CEO, Egan Durban. Silver Lake joins Mr. Musk in an effort to privatize Tesla.

Mr. Musk’s list of other business ventures is long. Outside of Tesla and SpaceX, he is the founder of Boring Company, a tunnel construction services company. Adding a role to the list could upset Tesla shareholders. In the last two months of last year, Mr. Musk sold about $ 16 billion worth of Tesla stock, equivalent to about 10 percent of his shares in the electric vehicle company.

Executives who combine media projects with other personal endeavors have sometimes found themselves in the crosshairs of politicians. Former President Donald J. Trump, for example, took a dim view of Amazon because he disagreed with the coverage of The Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos bought in 2013. Tesla is a major beneficiary of environmental credits, while SpaceX follows government contracts.

For Mr. Musk, the investment could increase the amount of noise he faces on Twitter. Earlier Monday, Twitter users asked Billionaire for an edit button on the social media service and asked him to restore some banned accounts.

Adam Satariano, Jack Ewing And Peter Evis Contributing Reporting.

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