Buying $2.9 billion worth of shares, the Tesla mogul now owns a 9.2 per cent stake in the company, having snapped up 73,486,938 Twitter shares, causing them to jump 26 per cent in price. This price jump means that Musk’s shares will already be worth $3.6 billion, netting him a theatrical profit of $7 million already.
Musk himself is a frequent user of Twitter and has more than 80 million followers, though his latest business move might puzzle some after his recent criticisms of the platform. Critical of their approach to free speech, the father of one said he was giving ‘serious thought’ to building a new social media platform altogether.
Posting a poll to his Twitter feed on 25 March, Musk asked: ‘Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?’, also noting, ‘the consequences of this poll will be important.’
‘Please vote carefully,’ he added.
‘Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,’ Musk then tweeted the following day, before publicly asking whether a ‘new platform’ is needed. Given that Musk purchased his stake in Twitter on 14 March, it appears as though these comments came after his decision to buy a stake.
Currently, the billionaire is a passive stakeholder, seeming to signal that he has no demands on a larger slice of the company. However, in a note to investors, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote: ‘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.’ Musk himself has yet to comment on his reasons for taking the Twitter share.