Intrigue deepened late Sunday about how Elon Musk’s big stake in Twitter will affect the social media platform.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted shortly before midnight EDT that “Elon has decided not to join our board.”
The announcement follows a wild week between Twitter and Musk, after the Tesla and SpaceX founder who has more than 80 million followers disclosed his 9% stake in the company, sending the stock skyrocketing by up to 25%.
The appointment was to take effect April 9, “but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best.”
What does Musk want from Twitter?
Before Agrawal’s announcement, Musk over the weekend tweets a handful of ideas about Twitter, including making the site ad-free. Nearly 90% of Twitter’s 2021 revenue came from adsthe Associated Press noted.
Agrawal told the company that “there will be distractions ahead” and that with Musk as the company’s biggest shareholder, “we will remain open to his input.”
Musk, since disclosing his stake, has tweeted about inactivity in several widely followed accounts, asking “Is Twitter dying?” And, in one of a few tweets since deleted, I have suggested that Twitter headquarters in San Francisco could be converted to a homeless shelter. “… no one shows up anyway,” he said, in reference to the company’s remote work option.
That drew partial agreement from fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos.
Agrawal’s note to employees said its officers “believed that having Elon as fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward.”
As part of joining the board, Musk was to have agreed to acquire more than 14.5% of the company. His plans for him are now unknown.
Twitter trouble with SEC
Musk’s tweets, sometimes off the wall, have gotten him in trouble before, the AP noted.
He called a British cave explorer a “pedo guy” in a tweet that led to a failed defamation suit.
In 2018 the US Securities and Exchange Commission required Musk to pay $40 million in civil fines and for Musk to have his tweets approved by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted about having the money to take Tesla private at $420 per share, which caused Tesla’s stock price to jump.
The Washington Post reported last week that Musk may have made as much as $156 million on his failure to disclose having crossed the 5% ownership threshold on Twitter stock, an SEC requirement. That enabled him to buy more Twitter stock at an artificially low price, the Post said, because the disclosure would have increased the price sooner.
Randy Essex: [email protected]; @randyessex