Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken a stake in Twitter Inc. after stating that he is “giving serious thought” to building a new social media platform — one that prioritizes free speech. An analyst says this could eventually lead to a buyout.
Elon Musk’s Stake in Twitter
Tesla and Spacex CEO Elon Musk disclosed that he has taken a 9.2% stake in Twitter Inc. in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday.
The Elon Musk Revocable Trust, for which the Tesla boss is the sole trustee, now holds 73,486,938 shares of Twitter, the SEC filing details, adding that this amount represents 9.2% of Twitter’s common stock, based on 800,641,166 shares outstanding as of Feb. 10. The stake is worth $2.89 billion, based on Twitter’s closing price on Friday.
Musk’s investment in the social media giant came a little over a week after he said he is “giving serious thought” to creating a new social media platform that would focus on free speech as a top priority.
Musk, a frequent user of Twitter, also set up a poll on the platform asking his 80 million followers whether they believed Twitter rigorously adheres to the free speech principle. The Tesla boss hinted that the consequences of the poll “will be important.” Over two million votes were counted and 70.4% said no.
With the 9.2% stake, Musk has become Twitter’s biggest shareholder. By comparison, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as the CEO of the company last year, holds a 2.25% stake.
While Musk’s investment in Twitter is considered a passive stake, investors are hopeful that this could lead to something more, and Twitter’s shares surged more than 25% in the pre-market.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told CNBC Monday:
Musk could try to take a more aggressive stance here on Twitter … This eventually could lead to some sort of buyout.
“This makes sense given what Musk has at least been talking about, at least from a social media perspective,” Ives added. The analyst also wrote in a note: “We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board and management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter.”
Paul Hickey, Bespoke Investment Group’s co-founder, shared with CNBC: “Twitter is a $30 billion company. Elon Musk is worth $300 billion. It’s not necessarily a big stake for him … I’m thinking about it from a Tesla shareholder’s perspective. As they are growing, do you really want him taking his eye off the ball?”
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