Analysts have speculated that Elon Musk’s roller coaster journey as Twitter’s largest shareholder could be part of a ploy to stage a hostile take-over of the company, while others claim the social media platform may just be a fun distraction for the billionaire.
Musk revealed he last week that he had become Twitter’s largest shareholder, with a 9.2 percent stake in the company, on March 14.
One day after he disclosed his stake, platform CEO Parag Agrawal announced the Tesla co-founder had been invited to the join the company’s board of directors, a seat he gladly accepted.
By accepting the board seat, Musk was limited in how much of the company’s shares he could own, with a 14.9 percent cap. However, on Sunday Parag announced the SpaceX CEO formally declined his board seat.
Musk, 50, signed the new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday indicating he had declined his board seat.
The document stated Musk could ‘express his views’ about Twitter’s policies and services to the board or on social media. He could also purchase additional shares or sell Twitter stock, if he saw fit.
The usually vocal tech tycoon has not commented on his decision to forgo board membership.
Analysts have speculated that Elon Musk’s roller coaster journey as Twitter’s largest shareholder could be part of a ploy to stage a hostile take-over of the company
Is Elon Musk planning a hostile take-over?
Wall Street analysts allege Elon Musk’s declining a seat on Twitter’s Board of Directors – which he had previously indicated he was excited to join – could open the door for the Tesla CEO to buy more stock and organize a takeover of the company.
‘This weekend’s changeup spares the company from having to deal with a renegade director tweeting about board-level discussions. That would have been untenable,’ Don Bilson, of Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, told CNBC Monday.
‘The flip side to this is Twitter must deal with a wildcard investor that already owns 9 percent of the company and has the resources to buy the remaining 91 percent. As volatile as Musk is, we could see a move like that made shortly. Or we could never see it all,’ he added. ‘I don’t think anything is off the menu with this guy.’
‘This is clearly going to be an unfriendly situation,’ Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives echoed. ‘Instead of Musk in the board room in the corner just saying nay or agreeing on certain board candidates, I think now it really goes to the point that in the coming days I think we’ll start to see if he’s going to go more hostile, more active – that’s what the Street’s focused on.’
Analysts allege that Agrawal’s statement coupled with Musk rejection of board membership suggests the billionaire may be seeking more control over the company
Twitter user @IvanTheK shared Parag’s statement, alleging his warning about ‘distractions ahead’ was a ‘key sentence’
‘This is clearly going to be an unfriendly situation,’ Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives (pictured) argued during a SquawkBox interview on Monday. ‘Instead of Musk in the board room in the corner just saying nay or agreeing on certain board candidates, I think now it really goes to the point that in the coming days I think we’ll start to see if he’s going to go more hostile, more active’
Musk, who is currently Twitter’s largest shareholder, filed an amended 13D form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday indicating he may ‘express his views’ about Twitter’s policies and services to the board or on social media.
The form also said Musk ‘may engage in discussions with the Board and/or members … potential business combinations and strategic alternatives, the business, operations, capital structure, governance, management, strategy of the Issuer and other matters concerning the Issuer.’
‘The Reporting Person may express his views to the Board and/or members of the Issuer’s management team and/or the public through social media or other channels with respect to the Issuer’s business, products and service offerings,’ the filing added.
Musk’s filing came just hours after Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Sunday night the billionaire had declined his invitation to join the platform’s board board of directors. Agrawal said the board would still ‘remain open’ to Musk’s input, while also warning: ‘There will be distractions ahead but our goals and priorities remain unchanged.’
‘Elon switched his paperwork last week from passive to activist investor. He’s no longer bound by the agreement that caps the amount of Twitter he can own. He seems mad,’ longtime technology reporter and author Alex Kantrowitz argued. ‘Only getting more interesting from here.’
On Monday, Musk filed an amendment to his previous 13D SEC filing which declared his intentions to be an active investor. The new filing allows him the acquire additional shares of the company or sell all or a portion of his shares, if he pleases. However, the document states Musk has ‘no present plans or intentions’ to do so
Musk’s filing came just hours after Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Sunday night the billionaire had declined his invitation to join the platform’s board board of directors. Agrawal said the board would still ‘remain open’ to Musk’s input, while also warning: ‘There will be distractions ahead but our goals and priorities remain unchanged’
Jason Miller, former Trump spokesman and CEO of rival social media platform Gettr, told DailyMail.com Musk probably realized that the culture is so embedded in Twitter that it can’t be changed: ‘It is like getting a rental car from a driver who smoked. You can’t get rid of the smell.’
‘The entire culture is fundamentally broken,’ Miller said, and criticized their constant political discrimination, censoring of conservative voices including Jake Posobiec and Juanita Brodderick and continually choosing ‘winners and losers’ in the free speech.
He did admit, however, that there is no predicting what Musk might do next and whether he will be hands off when it comes to Twitter.
Loup Ventures Managing Partner Gene Munster, however, said he believes ‘he majority of the drama is over,’ arguing it would’ve been a smarter decision for Musk to go for a takeover immediately if he planned to do so.
The analyst also claimed he doesn’t believe Musk wants to dedicate his time to a Twitter takeover.
Loup Ventures Managing Partner Gene Munster, however, said he believes ‘he majority of the drama is over,’ arguing it would’ve been a smarter decision for Musk to go for a takeover immediately if he planned to do so
Other analysts allege Musk’s promise to be vocal about the company could impact the value of Twitter stock. Twitter stocks have surged since mid-March when Musk purchased his stake
‘Understand that there is something that is important to him around free speech and I think he wants to move that forward. Understand that he sees that as an opportunity as big as electrification and as big as space travel,’ Munster said. ‘But ultimately I think that this just, it’s just one too many things on the plate for him to take over.’
Other analysts allege Musk’s promise to be vocal about the company could impact the value of Twitter stock.
‘While it remains unclear what Mr. Musk’s priorities are, we do expect his tweets will receive increased attention, which could drive share price volatility,’ KeyBanc analysts told the news outlet.
Despite the speculation, Musk’s SEC filing states he ‘has no present plans or intentions’ to buy additional stock or sell his current shares, however he ‘reserves the right to change his plans at any time, as he deems appropriate’.
How much would it cost to buy enough shares to take over?
In order for Elon Musk to takeover Twitter, he would need to purchase a majority stake in the firm or enough shares to override 50 percent of the vote.
The Tesla CEO, who is Twitter’s largest shareholder, currently holds a 9.2 percent stake in the social media platform. He owns 73.4 million shares, valued at approximately $3.4billion.
Twitter currently has 800.64 million outstanding shares, according to Yahoo Finance. Musk would need to obtain at least an additional 40.8 percent stake in the company to become the majority shareholder.
The SpaceX CEO – the world’s richest person with a $302billion net worth – would need to purchase roughly 400.32 million additional shares, valued around $15.3billion, to own 50 percent of the company.
Musk would need to purchase roughly 400.32 million additional shares, valued around $15.3billion, to own 50 percent of Twitter
On Monday, Twitter stock recovered quickly after falling more than 8 percent in premarket trading as news emerged that Musk was refusing to take a seat on the company’s board of directors. The social media giant’s share price was up more than 2.8 percent as of Monday afternoon, to $47.51 after closing at $46.23 Friday
Musk began purchasing Twitter stock on January 31 and continued to buy shares during every trading session through April 1, according to a SEC filing obtained by DailyMail.com last week.
His largest purchase occurred on February 7 when he acquired more than 4.8 million shares, worth approximately $176million.
Twitter closed at its 2022 low point on March 7 when shares were trading at $32.42 each. The shares had ended January at $37.51 and have significantly surged in the wake of the news surrounding Musk’s involvement with the platform.
On Monday, Twitter stock recovered quickly after falling more than 8 percent in premarket trading as news emerged that Musk was refusing to take a seat on the company’s board of directors.
The social media giant’s share price was up more than 2.8 percent as of Monday afternoon, to $47.51 after closing at $46.23 Friday.
Musk became Twitter’s majority shareholder after he acquired 73.5 million shares of the platform. An SEC form filed last week (pictured) revealed that Musk began purchasing Twitter stock on January 31 and continued to buy shares during every trading session through April 1
What changes is Musk demanding?
Elon Musk vowed to ‘make significant improvements’ to Twitter last week after he revealed his large stake in the social media platform and his intention to join the board of directors.
The tech tycoon, before reversing course on the board seat, sent out a number of tweets over the weekend referencing potential changes at Twitter.
Many of them, such as his proposal for an ad-free Twitter or turning the social media company’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter, have since been deleted.
On Saturday, Musk had suggested changes to the Twitter Blue premium subscription service, including slashing its price, banning advertising and giving an option to pay in the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
On April 5, Elon Musk vowed to ‘make significant improvements’ to Twitter after revealing his large stake in the social media platform and intention to join the board of directors
He also tweeted: ‘Delete the w in twitter?’
And the billionaire even asked his 80 million followers: ‘Is Twitter dying?’
Musk then posted a few cryptic tweets late Sunday, including one showing a meme that said: ‘In all fairness, your honor, my client was in goblin mode.’
He then followed his post with another meme reading: ‘Explains everything.’
Early Monday morning he tweeted an emoji of a smiling face, with a hand over its mouth – supposedly an expression of rapture, a smirk, a shy smile, or indicating happiness. He then deleted it.
The second tweet about deleting ‘w’ saw Musk give two options without no as an answer, with 55.8 percent saying ‘yes’ and 44.2 percent ‘of course’ of 445,158 votes to-date
Musk, who describes himself as a ‘free speech absolutist,’ has been highly critical of Twitter and its policies as of late, arguing he doesn’t think Twitter is living up to free speech principles – an opinion shared by followers of Donald Trump and a number of other conservative political figures who’ve had their accounts suspended for violating Twitter content rules.
On March 25, Musk tweeted a poll: ‘Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?’
A day later, Musk, a prolific user of Twitter himself, said that he was giving ‘serious thought’ to building a new social media platform.
Then, last Monday, after revealing his stake in Twitter, Musk asked his followers: ‘Do you want an edit button?,’ referencing a feature that many users have requested.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal shared the post, writing: ‘The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.’
On March 25, Musk tweeted a poll: ‘Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?’
A day later, Musk, a prolific user of Twitter himself, said that he was giving ‘serious thought’ to building a new social media platform
Last Monday, after revealing his stake in Twitter, Musk asked his followers: ‘Do you want an edit button?,’ referencing a feature that many users have requested
What do Twitter staff say about the prospect?
Twitter employees are seemingly agitated by the roller coaster surrounding Musk’s involvement in the company, with one researcher on Monday saying it was ‘the drama that keeps on giving.’
‘My drafts folder deserves agency representation at this point,’ Global Head of Partners Lara Cohen said.
‘Can’t wait to discuss this with my passionate, hard-working, and dedicated colleagues that show up to work every day, even if it’s not in an office,’ Ej Samson, who works in the company’s marketing department, wrote.
Twitter researcher Matt DeMichiel simply shared an image of cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants face planting in the sand.
A Twitter staff researcher called the situation surrounding Musk a ‘drama that just keeps giving’
Ej Samson, who works in the company’s marketing department, appeared eager to discuss the situation with his coworkers
Global Head of Partners Lara Cohen made a seemingly snarky remark about the situation, saying: ‘My drafts folder deserves agency representation at this point’
Twitter researcher Matt DeMichiel simply shared an image of cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants face planting in the sand
However, employee conversation surrounding Musk’s involvement with Twitter has included messages of both serious uneasiness and mockery.
After news broke of the Tesla CEO’s $3billion investment in the platform, Cohen took to Twitter saying: ‘Good morning to our new overlord!’
DeMichiel shared a meme featuring rapper Drake that seemingly implied Musk would move the company’s focus from growth, product innovation and sustainability to ways to further financial success.
‘Elon Musk just (temporarily at least) made me a lot of money. And I still dislike him,’ added Haraldur Thorleifsson, a Twitter team lead, referencing how news of Musk’s stake and board membership prompted a nearly 30 percent surge in the company’s stock value.
Michael Sayman, a company product lead, took to the platform to share a meme allegedly depicting the next company board meeting.
The post featured a group attending a meeting with Wario, the antagonist in Nintendo’s Mario series, sitting at the head table. The meme was captioned: ‘Twitter’s next board meeting’.
DeMichiel, who shared the Drake meme, also responded to a commenter asking if employees were required to include Musk on all work-related communications.
He answered: ‘That and all email signatures have to link to Tesla’s website.’
Although most responses featured targeted sarcasm, EJ Samson, a member of the platform’s marketing team, issued a more neutral response, questioning Musk’s role at the company.
Retweeting a poll the SpaceX CEO had posted asking if users wanted an edit button, Samson replied, via meme: ‘What is happening?’
Lara Cohen, the company’s Global Head of Partners, compared Musk to a feudal lord last week after news broke that he had become the platform’s largest shareholder
Company researcher Matt DeMichiel last week shared a meme featuring rapper Drake that seemingly implied Musk would move the company’s focus from growth, product innovation and sustainability to ways to further financial success
DeMichiel also responded to a commenter asking if employees were required to include Musk on all work-related communications
Haraldur Thorleifsson, a Twitter team lead, last Monday referenced how Musk’s stake and board membership prompted a surge in the company’s stock value
Michael Sayman, a company product lead, last Monday compared Musk to Wario, the antagonist in Nintendo’s Mario series
EJ Samson, a member of the platform’s marketing team, last Monday seemingly questioned Musk’s role at the company
Musk himself took a seemingly laissez-faire attitude about his role at the company, telling his followers last Thursday morning that Twitter’s next board meeting was ‘gonna be lit’ by sharing an image of himself smoking a blunt on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2018.
Musk, 50, also made a post appearing to show the domino effect of selling his first company Zip2 – which provided and licensed online city guide software to newspapers – to Compaq in 1999 to Twitter creating an edit button.
Zip2, which is recognized as the entrepreneur’s biggest failure, sold for $307million, earning Musk $22million for his 7 percent share of the venture when he was only 27 years old.
The meme seemed to imply that sale spearheaded his success and allowed him to become Twitter’s largest shareholder.
Elon Musk took to Twitter last Thursday morning to inform his more than 80 million followers that social media platform’s next board meeting was ‘going to be lit’
Musk also shared a meme last Thursday showing how the sale of Zip2 in 1999 caused a domino effect that led to his involvement at Twitter
Who is backing Musk?
Elon Musk seemingly had the support of Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey, current CEO Parag Agrawal and the majority of the company’s board of directors.
Agrawal announced Musk’s board membership on the social media last Tuesday, alleging the billionaire brings ‘great value’ to the company.
‘I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,’ Agrawal wrote.
‘He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!’
Elon Musk seemingly had the support of Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey, current CEO Parag Agrawal and the majority of the company’s board of directors
Jack Dorsey (bottom left) is pictured during a video chat with Elon Musk (right), Catherine Wood (center left) and Steve Lee (top left) in July 2021
Musk responded to the CEO, saying: ‘Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!’
Other board members seemed receptive to Musk – who has 80 million Twitter followers – joining their ranks, with several issuing welcome messages online, including Dorsey.
‘I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,’ Dorsey tweeted. ‘Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.’
Board chair and Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor echoed the sentiment, saying: ‘Welcome to the Twitter board, @elonmusk! We are all excited to work with you and build the future of Twitter together.’
Twitter board members, including founder Jack Dorsey, seemed excited about Musk’s appointment
Several, including Omid Kordestani, the board’s executive chairman and a current member, posted messages of welcome to the platform
Board chair and Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor said they were excited to work with Musk
Taylor’s post was retweeted by fellow board members Mimi Alemayehou, Senior Vice President for Public-Private Partnership at Mastercard; Martha Lane Fox, Founder and Chairperson of Lucky Voice Group; and Stanford University professor Dr. Fei-Fei Li.
Omid Kordestani, the board’s executive chairman and a current member, wrote: ‘Welcome @elonmusk!’
The four remaining board members – Former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, Invoia Capital general partner Patrick Pichette, 1stdibs.com Inc. CEO David Rosenblatt, and Egon Durban, Co-CEO of Silver Lake – did not publicly comment on Musk’s appointment to the board.
Republican lawmakers and social media users alike also issued their support for the Tesla CEO, calling on him to restore former President Donald Trump’s Twitter privileges.
Anger among conservative social media users first spilled over when Twitter and Facebook permanently suspended Trump’s accounts early last year following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In response to his suspension, Trump launched his own platform, Truth Social, which seemingly mirrors the Twitter interface.
Republican lawmakers and social media users alike are calling on Elon Musk to reinstate former President Donald Trump ‘s Twitter account now that the tech mogul has became the social media platform’s largest shareholder and a member of its board of directors. Musk and Trump are pictured at the White House in February 2017
Numerous Trump supporters and GOP lawmakers have urged Musk to get the ex-president back on the platform, now that he seemingly holds significant weight in the company.
‘Dear Elon Musk, bring back President Donald J. Trump,’ tax expert Julio Gonzalez tweeted last Tuesday.
‘Musk joining the Twitter board is the first step in the right direction. Bring back Trump!’ echoed British broadcaster and former politician Nigel Farage.
They also accused the social media network’s woke leadership of ‘censorship’ including ‘shadow banning,’ which supposedly restricts a user’s reach without their knowledge or appearing to do so.
‘Twitter used to be an open field of free thought,’ television host Pete Hegseth said last Tuesday on Fox & Friends, according to Mediaite. ‘Now the blue checkmarks like groupthink leftists police that thought and the corporate types at Twitter have been happy to enforce it.’
He added: ‘They pushed off Donald Trump. They pushed off a lot of conservatives. If he were to open that up, it opens up the conversation in America.’
‘The Left has determined that speech is violence. That’s their argument on so many of these things. If [Musk] attempted to bring Donald Trump back, which he should, the target is gonna be even bigger on his back.’
Calls for Trump’s reinstatement first came on last Monday after news broke of Musk’s shareholder status.
‘Now that [Elon Musk] is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift the political censorship. Oh… and BRING BACK TRUMP!’ outspoken pro-Trump Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted at the time.
Errol Webber, a Republican running for a California House seat, argued that Twitter should ‘give everyone who has been banned a second chance,’ including Trump.
‘@ElonMusk is now the largest shareholder of Twitter. Time to get this platform back to its former glory,’ Webber wrote. ‘Step one – bring back President Trump! Step two – give everyone who has been banned a second chance. Step three – end all forms of political and other censorship.’
Conservative author and national security expert Brigitte Gabriel called for Trump’s return to the platform last Monday
Journalist Glenn Greenwald took to Twitter last Tuesday alleging Democrats were afraid of Trump returning to the platform
Errol Webber, a Republican running for a California House seat, argued last Monday that Twitter should ‘give everyone who has been banned a second chance,’ including Trump
Last Tuesday, tax expert Julio Gonzalez called on Musk to bring back Trump
Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Banks was among the first elected officials to praise Musk’s purchase last Monday
British broadcaster and former politician Nigel Farage argued Tuesday that Musk joining the board was the ‘first step in the right direction’ for Twitter
Pro-Trump Rep. Lauren Boebert last Monday demanded that Musk use his money invested in the company to push for a reversal of Donald Trump’s permanent suspension
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) questioned last Monday if freedom of speech would return to the platform now that Musk has the largest shareholder
Another Trump ally, former Treasury Department official Monica Crowley, also sounded off
Former Trump Treasury Department official Monica Crowley said: ‘He should demand the end of political censorship, company-wide reform, and the reinstatement of President Trump.’
Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) posted last Monday, ‘If [Elon Musk] can clean up Twitter and stop online censorship, I’m all for him taking over the whole damn thing.’
‘Will the new majority shareholder return freedom of speech to Twitter?’ questioned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). ‘It will require courage [because] the regime is heavily investing in a certain industry and threats will undoubtedly come. Yet the freedom of speech restored will enable us all to defeat them.’
‘Great job Elon Musk! Now reinstate President Trump!’ author Brigitte Gabriel applauded.
‘Dems & liberal activists groups have spent years co-opting the censorship power of tech billionaires and expressing gratitude to Google and FB execs for censoring their enemies off the internet,’ journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted. ‘Now they’re petrified a billionaire who won’t censor for them may take over Twitter.’