The flamboyant Tesla CEO is now Twitter’s largest shareholder, as Elon Musk has scooped up more than 73 million shares of Twitter, valued at nearly $3 billion Friday, but now worth a lot more since the sale went public and the stock went booming
You can tell by looking at the graph below exactly when the news broke early Monday morning that Elon Musk bought 73.5 million shares of Twitter stock, per KGO. After the New York Times broke the story of Musk buying up a full 9.2% of the social media company’s shares, Twitter’s stock price jumped significantly, and as of press time for this post, are up more than 26% since the market opened Monday morning.
According to CNBC, “The stake is worth $2.89 billion, based [on] Twitter’s closing price Friday.” But the shares are worth far more now since the stock went on its Monday morning run.
Is a new platform needed?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
This was completely unexpected, and will surely dominate the conversation about billionaire tech dudes for weeks to come. So what is Musk up to? The instant, armchair analysis is referencing his tweets from March 25-26, the riddles wrapped in an enigma and slathered with pompous bullshit seen above. In a series of tweets, Musk said that “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and that “Twitter serves as the de facto public town square,” (JFC) and asked “Is a new platform needed?”
That would indicate Musk was unhappy with Twitter’s content moderation policy and was considering starting a rival service. But as a separate report in the New York Times notes, Musk bought the shares on March 14, so he already knew he was Twitter’s largest shareholder when he tweeted “Is a new platform needed?”
And moreover, Musk has never really run afoul of Twitter’s content moderation policy, nor has he been banned. It's just the foolish things he’s said on Twitter that have gotten him into trouble with federal regulatory authorities. As CNBC details, “On Aug. 7, 2018, Musk tweeted he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 per share.”
That was a completely fraudulent claim! The SEC ended up fining him $20 million, and per CNBC, “Musk also reached a settlement with the SEC that removed him from the role of chairman at Tesla.”
This whole thing may have nothing to do with free speech, or what you can and can’t say on Twitter. It is probably about money and power. While the Times describes these purchases as “passive investments,” Musk might want a seat on Twitter's board, or he might want to buy the company.
“We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives told theTimes.
Elon Musk is now Twitter's largest shareholder— Culture Crave 🍿 (@CultureCrave) April 4, 2022
Elon Musk's stake — 9.2%
Jack Dorsey's stake — 2.25% pic.twitter.com/ehL6HaDBeE
As many are noting, Elon Musk now owns a much larger share of Twitter than even Twitter founder Jack Dorsey himself. That may be fine with Dorsey, who’s stepped down as CEO and appears to be focusing on other things. And Musk is the world’s wealthiest person (depending on the day and the markets). So maybe buying up as much as Twitter as possible is a way to buy more relevance if you actually think Twitter discourse reflects real life, or that Twitter really is the “de facto public town square.”
Related: Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Poll’ Stock Sale Proven a Sham, as He’s Actually Buying Up Shares Like Mad [SFist]
Image: GRUENHEIDE, GERMANY - MARCH 22: (Alternate crop of #1239417601) Tesla CEO Elon Musk contemplates during the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22, 2022 near Gruenheide, Germany. The new plant, officially called the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, is producing the Model Y as well as electric car batteries. (Photo by Christian Marquardt - Pool/Getty Images)