Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), unveiled a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), valued at over $3 billion, putting him as the microblogging site’s top stakeholder and driving its shares to rise more than 20%.
Musk’s move comes days after he tweeted that he was “thinking” of launching a new social media platform and questioned Twitter’s commitment to free speech.
Musk has gained over 80 million followers on Twitter since 2009 and has used the platform to make a variety of announcements, including dangling a Tesla go-private plan that landed him in regulatory hot water.
He has lately criticized the social media platform and its methods, arguing that the firm is undermining democracy by refusing to submit to free speech principles.
“It does send a message to Twitter … having a meaningful stake in the company will keep them on their toes because that passive stake could very quickly become an active stake,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC.
Musk, who is also one of the richest people on this planet, has been selling Tesla shares since November when he revealed plans to sell 10% of his stake in the electric automaker. He has since sold $16.4 billion in shares.
According to a regulatory filing on Monday, Musk owns 73.5 million Twitter shares via the Elon Musk Revocable Trust, of which he is the only trustee. Vanguard is Twitter’s second-largest stakeholder, with an 8.79 percent stake, according to Refinitiv data.
Staff expressed fear that Musk’s views on moderation might damage years of effort to build Twitter as a site of constructive debate, enabling trolls and mob attacks to flourish.
Musk hasn’t stated his goals as a new board member, but his Twitter activity suggests they exist. Musk polled his 80 million followers a week before announcing his 9.1% stake in Twitter, asking whether the site met the ideal of free speech, and the vast majority said no.
Musk has a history of targeting opponents on Twitter, according to the staffers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of punishment. Musk was chastised in 2018 after accused a British diver of being a pedophile for assisting in the rescue of children trapped in a Thai cave.
On Thursday, employees were asked to question Tesla founder and billionaire Elon Musk by email about his goals.
It’s been reported that Musk wants to update the social network.
The chief executive or a senior executive frequently presides over the company-wide meeting, known as a town hall or ‘all hands.’
According to the Washington Post, stockholders like Musk are often not invited to such events, much less asked to conduct an open session with employees.