CryptocurrencyInvestingBanksReal Estate

Elon Musk may gain a board seat at Twitter as his investment will ‘kick off a soap opera’ and maybe an activist play, top Wedbush tech analyst says

April 4, 2022, 4:58 PM UTC

Shares of Twitter caught fire on Monday, rising more than 20% after news broke that Elon Musk has taken a 9.2% stake in the social media giant.

The billionaire investor and Tesla owner bought nearly 74 million Twitter shares in a deal worth roughly $2.9 billion as of Friday’s closing price, SEC filings show. 

Now, Wedbush analysts are arguing that Musk’s Twitter stake—which dwarfs former CEO Jack Dorsey’s roughly 2% stake in the company—may turn into a more “aggressive ownership role” in the coming months as he pushes Twitter’s board toward a free speech agenda.

Wedbush’s top tech analyst Dan Ives told Fortune that he believes the purchase will “kick off a soap opera” that ends with Musk having a board seat at Twitter and “catalyzing major change” moving forward.

“We would expect this passive stake to be just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management,” Ives wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

Musk has been a harsh critic of Twitter for years now, claiming its policies of policing content inhibit consumers’ freedom of speech on the platform.

In a series of Tweets last month, the CEO polled his more than 80 million Twitter followers asking whether they thought the social media company adhered to the principles of free speech.

“The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” Musk wrote.

Seventy percent of respondents said “no,” leading to another exchange last Tuesday where Musk wrote: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” 

The series of tweets led to speculation that Musk might create his own social media platform to counter Twitter’s dominance in the space, but now it appears Musk had a different plan all along.

The CEO acquired his 9.2% Twitter stake on March 14, according to a recently released SEC filing, meaning he was already a Twitter owner when he leveled his most recent free speech critiques at the platform last month. It appears Musk may attempt to make changes at Twitter from within, using his shares to push the firm in a new direction as an activist investor.

Musk may have abandoned his goal of starting a new social media platform after seeing the so far less-than-stellar results of the competition. In February, former President Donald Trump launched his platform, Truth Social, in a rough rollout that was plagued by outages and registration wait lists. And there’s already a crowded field of conservative, free speech–focused platforms that include Gab, Gettr, and Parler that have yet to gain significant market share.

Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.