A few days ago, we woke up to the shocker that Elon Musk has become the biggest shareholder of Twitter after his purchase of 9.2 per cent of the company’s shares. However, according to reports making rounds, the world’s richest man would no longer be joining Twitter’s board. According to a message by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Musk has now declined to take up the seat. Twitter’s largest investor has reversed the course and will no longer be joining the company’s board of directors less than a week after being awarded the seat.
Agrawal writes, “We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance. Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same day that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best.” Twitter CEO added that “We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.”
At the time that his purchase became public knowledge, his stake in Twitter was worth $2.89 billion. According to reports circulating, Elon Musk joining Twitter’s board would have prevented his chances of further owning more than 14.9 per cent of the company. Twitter CEO Agrawal however didn’t offer an explanation for Musk’s apparent decision. He said the board understood the risks of having Musk, who is now the company’s largest shareholder, as a member.
A regulatory filing revealed the mercurial billionaire amassed a 9.2% stake in the social media platform. A later financial filing showed that Musk had been buying up the shares in almost daily batches starting Jan. 31. Chester Spatt, a finance professor at Carnegie Mellon University and former chief economist at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Musk’s board role could have made him a “thorn in the side of management” and given him an influential inside voice in the platform’s future but it could have also discouraged him from rocking the boat too much.
Since the announcement of Musk’s stake in Twitter, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has continued to tweet new ideas for the microblogging platform. Although sometimes it’s hard to know when Musk is just trolling or not. Some of his new idea for the social platform include whether Twitter should have an edit button and also making the site ad-free. The tweet on the edit button actually happened a day before the company eventually confirmed that this feature has been long-requested. According to The Verge, more recently — the same day he apparently told Twitter he wouldn’t join the board, in fact — he tweeted suggestions like including verification checkmarks with the paid Twitter Blue service or converting Twitter’s San Francisco HQ to a homeless shelter “since no-one shows up anyway.”
While Musk continues to play the role of one of Twitter’s loudest critics, the sudden withdrawal from board membership could actually signal that the relations between Musk and Twitter may likely become more acrimonious as time goes on. Meaning that his involvement as Twitter’s largest shareholder could potentially “swing back hard” at Twitter executives and board members as it may even force the company to start navigating in new directions. Although the social platform has since confirmed that Musk won’t be given any special treatment from its rules on the platform despite becoming the biggest shareholder of Twitter.
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