The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has sent Twitter’s shares surging after it was revealed he has acquired a 9.2 percent stake in the micro-blogging platform.

The revelation, made in a SEC filing, pushed Twitter’s share price up 25 percent on Monday afternoon, with its shares trading at $49.32 on Nasdaq.

Twitter has a market value of $39.6bn, and Musk has reportedly spent around $3 billion (£2.3bn) to become Twitter’s largest shareholder.

Elon Musk

New platform

Musk now owns 73.5 million Twitter shares, which are held by the Elon Musk Revocable Trust, of which he is the sole trustee.

Twitter’s second-biggest shareholder is Vanguard, which apparently has an 8.79 percent stake in the platform.

Last week Musk spoke out against his favoured communication outlet when he said he was giving “serious thought” to building a rival platform, while questioning Twitter’s commitment to free speech.

Musk hit out at Twitter for “failing to adhere to free speech principles” and asked whether a new platform was needed.

Musk also last week admitted he has Covid for a second time, just days after he returned from Germany where he opened up Tesla’s new Giga Berlin factory in Grünheide.

Management change

Twitter of course has had a turbulent couple of years.

In November Jack Dorsey surprised industry watchers with the news he was stepping down from the CEO role of the company he co-founded.

Dorsey owns more than 2 percent of Twitter, and was replaced by then chief technology officer (CTO) Parag Agrawal.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal. Image credit: Twitter

Dorsey had survived the ire of activist shareholder group Elliott Management, who took issue over Dorsey spending his mornings at Twitter and afternoons at Square (Twitter and Square’s San Francisco offices are located across the street from each other).

But in November 2020 Twitter’s board of directors expressed their support for Dorsey, and recommended that the current unconventional management structure remained in place.

Meanwhile Musk and Dorsey have found some common ground in dismissing the so-called Web3, a vague term for a decentralised version of the internet.

Controversial figure

Musk of course is a regular Twitter user with more than 80 million followers since he joined the platform in 2009, but some of his tweets have landed in hot water.

This included a tweet in August 2018, when Elon Musk unexpectedly tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private and that he had secured funding to do so.

That caused considerable fallout with the SEC.

Musk also got into trouble in 2018 over his controversial ‘pedo guy’ tweet about one of the rescuers of the Thai boy football team who were trapped in a flooded cave in 2018.

The SEC is likely to take a close look at Musk’s move for Twitter, as the US financial regulator is still monitoring his tweets, much to Musk’s ire.

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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