Musk turns down a seat on Twitter’s board, leaving the door open for him to pursue a hostile takeover
Elon Musk won’t be joining Twitter’s board after all.
News of Musk’s decision comes almost a week after an earlier statement by Agrawal that Musk would be joining Twitter’s board—which came a day after Musk revealed that he’d taken a 9.2% stake in Twitter, making him the social media platform’s largest shareholder.
According to Agrawal, the company was set to make Musk’s board appointment official on Saturday, “contingent on a background check and formal acceptance.” Agrawal said that the company was “clear about the risks” of bringing the Tesla CEO on the board, yet said Twitter believed that “having Elon as a fiduciary of the company…was the best path forward.”
By turning down the appointment, Musk is now free to expand his stake in Twitter. If Musk had accepted the seat on Twitter’s board, he would have been limited to a maximum stake of 14.9% in the company.
Without that limit, Musk could now—in theory—pursue a hostile takeover by buying the company outright. That’s a move his extraordinary wealth comfortably enables him to do.
“Twitter is more vulnerable than some of its internet peers to outside pressure because its founders don’t have special voting control,” Justin Post, director of equity research at Bank of America Securities, wrote in a note published last week after Musk revealed his stake in the platform.
As of publication time, Elon Musk is still listed as a member of Twitter’s board of directors.
Since publicly revealing his investment in Twitter, Musk has tweeted several thoughts about the company’s services, including a poll gauging interest in an edit button, and floated the idea that users might pay for Twitter’s premium service using the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
On Saturday morning—the same day that, Agrawal suggests, Musk turned down the board seat—Musk tweeted “Is Twitter dying?” and noted that several of the most followed Twitter accounts “tweet rarely and post very little content.”
According to Bloomberg, Musk’s disclosure of his stake in Twitter risked opening a new rift in the Tesla founder’s already strained relationship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk revealed his stake later than U.S. equity regulations require, and originally used a form meant for passive investors who have no plan to influence a company’s operations. Musk later refiled his disclosure to classify himself as an active investor.
Some Twitter employees had feared Musk’s board appointment would hurt the company’s culture. One noted that some of Musk’s tweets would “likely” trigger a human resources investigation if sent by a company employee, and asked whether “board members are held to the same standard,” according to The Washington Post.
In his Sunday memo, Agrawal asked employees to “tune out the noise.”
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