Wait, something about a “background check?” Elon Musk suddenly relinquishes his proffered seat on the Twitter board of directors, which could be a nefarious Elon plot, or a sign of his very short attention span.
Those of you who were excited about Elon Musk buying a 9.2% ownership stake in Twitter and joining its board of directors, well, we’re afraid to inform that’s panning out about as well as Musk’s COVID-19 predictions. A mere five days after it was announced that Musk would be joining Twitter's board, The Verge reports on a strange, out-of-the-blue 8 p.m. Sunday night announcement that Musk will not be joining Twitter’s board of directors.
Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief note to the company, sharing with you all here. pic.twitter.com/lfrXACavvk— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 11, 2022
At 8:13 p.m. PT Sunday night, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted a statement that “Elon Musk has decided not to join our board, Here’s what I can share about how that happened.”
“We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance,” the statement continues.”Elon's appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board.”
Where do we begin parsing these words? After all, Agrawal says at one point that having Musk on the board is the “best path forward,” yet three sentences later, says “he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best.” That is two, different contradictory “bests.”
A lot of people seem to have trouble parsing through corpo / legal / PR speak, so here's a helpful guide to the only two parts of this statement that matter: pic.twitter.com/k2lV2jV5Sh— Dr. Bhaskar Ⓥ (@xbhaskarx) April 11, 2022
A few lines that stand out as perhaps presenting some backstory here are “fiduciary of the company,” “best interests of the company and our shareholders,” and “contingent on a background check.” Elon likes to do stupid shit, and his tweets have created SEC fraud fines before. So maybe Musk just realized that as a board member he would have to tweet like an adult, and found that arrangement unpalatable.
Or it could be that Musk’s hostile takeover of Twitter plans are back on the table. “As part of his agreement to join the board, Musk had committed to not acquiring more than 14.9% of the company’s shares during his term.,” as CNN explains. “Now, that limitation is no longer in place, leaving the door open for Musk to potentially take a more aggressive stance by buying up more of Twitter’s shares."
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a Monday investor note picked up by CNN that “In our opinion, the Twitter Board and Musk could not come to an agreement around Musk’s communications with the public (various polls) over Twitter as he likely needed to take a more back seat/quiet stance as part of joining the Board.” Ives ominously predicted “a Game of Thrones battle between Musk and Twitter with the high likelihood that Elon takes a more hostile stance towards Twitter and further builds his active stake in the company.”
It would be typical Elon Musk to want to buy Twitter in a hostile takeover, but it would also be typical Elon Musk for him to have simply lost interest because of his short attention span. Spending $3 billion on Twitter stock sounds like a big investment to you and me, but for Elon Musk it's like a tourist dropping 18 bucks on a bread bowl at Fisherman's Wharf. And it's the kind of thing he'd do without performing a background check, so maybe it's a problem for him if someone else does perform a background check.
Image: GRUENHEIDE, GERMANY - MARCH 22: Tesla CEO Elon Musk stands next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz 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)