Eyebrows raised as Elon Musk joins Twitter board.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy you a majority stake in Twitter, just ask Elon Musk.

This week it was reported that back in March Elon got 9.2% of Twitter stock. The news came as a shock to a lot of people, but not so much to people who have been following the enigmatic entrepreneur on the social media site. Twitter (TWTR) shares jumped 22% in early trade after the transaction was announced. Musk did not say how much he paid for the shares, but his holding was worth $2.9 billion as of Friday’s closing, and $3.5 billion following the early Monday rise. This shows once again how influential Elon is and how social media might be a tool for him.

Elon Musk became ultra-popular on Twitter (beyond his already established fame) in 2020 during the cryptocurrency peak. Elon with his relationship with Dogecoin and even his Tesla stocks made tweets periodically that shot up the value of the assets. It is not farfetched to say that Elon has seen first-hand how instrumental the platform can be. Since the news broke there have been naysayers who have said that Elon doesn’t plan to make any changes at Twitter and the move is simply an investment. However, this suspicion broke down when the CEO of Twitter Parag Agrawal, announced on the platform that Elon would be joining the board and would be part of the decision making processes at the tech company. The CEO stated that over the past weeks he had had discussions with Elon about ways to make the platform better, further indicating that the Tesla founder isn’t simply investing. That being said, Elon isn’t simply buying Twitter so that he can use the platform to make more money, in some tweets prior to the announcement, he ran a poll on Twitter asking if people thought Twitter was fair with free speech. He also asked if people wanted the ability to be able to edit their tweets, a feature that is currently unavailable. The real reason for these questions isn’t known, but there are speculations. The fact however remains that Elon knows very well how important the platform can be whilst others simple look at it as a cesspool of fake news and excessive ideas.

Musk has much more Twitter followers than any other CEO, with 80 million. And he is a regular tweeter, using it as the primary means of distributing news about Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, the two firms he oversees, neither of which has a typical public relations department. His tweets, on the other hand, have gotten him into difficulty at times. Musk announced in 2018 that he would “take Tesla private at a price of $420 per share” and that he had “financing secured” to do so. It was later revealed that, while he had conversations about sponsoring such, the cash was far from already secured. In the aftermath of the tweet, the company’s stock rose and this got him into trouble with the authorities. Musk settled the case by resigning as Tesla’s chairman, although he stayed put as CEO. Both he and Tesla paid a $20 million fine, with Musk repaying the business by acquiring an extra $20 million in Tesla stock. He was also made to commit to having any future tweets containing critical information about the firm vetted by other Tesla officials before being sent. The SEC has questioned whether Musk is complying with that condition of the deal, and Musk and the agency are arguing in court about it, so is everybody else as we are all unsure about where to draw the line.

There has also been speculation that Elon might try to buy the tech giant outrightly. Twitter’s market valuation of $31.5 billion is a fraction of what firms like Tesla or rival social media behemoth Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, are worth. Furthermore, Twitter’s stock has lost more than half of its value since February 2021, when the company reported that its efforts to combat misleading content surrounding the US elections cost the platform some users. Some industry experts think differently though, they believe it would be too expensive for Musk to acquire Twitter on his own, given that the majority of his wealth is invested in Tesla and SpaceX stock. According to Forbes, Musk is the world’s richest individual, with a net worth of $288 billion. Only the future can tell us more.

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