Twitter’s largest shareholder has performed an abrupt u-turn about joining its board of directors – a week after acquiring a 9.2 percent stake in the micro blogging platform.

Elon Musk was due to become a Twitter board member on Saturday, but on Monday Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal revealed Musk had declined the offer.

The world’s richest man had been invited to join the board of directors after it was revealed last week he had acquired a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal. Image credit: Twitter

Board of directors

Right from the start the move raised eyebrows, as Musk has been openly critical of the platform previously.

Most recently Musk questioned Twitter’s free speech credentials, and he recently suggested the platform is dying.

Musk has even said he was giving “serious thought” to building a rival platform, before he was revealed he had acquired a 9.2 percent stake in the firm.

Musk’s sniping from the sidelines at Twitter’s management could have led to some uncomfortable meetings with other Twitter management executive, and certainly there seemed to be some relief from Parag Agrawal, when he tweeted that Musk’s decision not to join “is for the best.”

After the news of the U-turn broke, Musk tweeted (but then deleted) a hand-over-mouth emoji.

Hostile takeover?

Musk not joining Twitter’s board of directors, frees him up to acquire more of the platform.

Joining the board, would have meant Musk serving on the board until 2024, and agreeing not acquire more than 14.9 percent of the company’s shares.

By Musk not joining Twitter’s board, he can acquire as much of Twitter’s shareholding as he likes. And there is some media speculation that he may be considering a hostile takeover of the platform.

But Musk could be in trouble with the US financial regulator, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yet again.

It has been widely reported that Musk made $156m, by filing a required SEC form 11 days late.

Investors are supposed to notify the SEC when they surpass a five percent stake in a company, which Musk did on 14 March.

But Musk didn’t publicly declare his stake to the SEC until 4 April.

During that time Musk continued to buy Twitter stock at $39 per share. When he finally went public, Twitter’s share price by 30 percent to over $50 per share, netting him approximately $156m.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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