- Stake valued at about $3 billion
- Twitter shares surge 27% to close at $49.97
- Strong response to Musk poll on edit button
April 4 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) boss Elon Musk on Monday disclosed a 9.2% stake in Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), worth nearly $3 billion, making him the micro-blogging site’s largest shareholder and triggering a rise of more than 27% in the company’s shares.
Musk’s move, revealed in a regulatory filing, comes on the heels of his tweet that he was giving “serious thought” to building a new social media platform, while questioning Twitter’s commitment to free speech.
He also started a poll asking Twitter users if they want an edit button, a long-awaited feature on which the social media platform has been working. It was followed by Chief Executive Parag Agrawal urging users to “vote carefully”.
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In less than three hours of starting the poll, more than 1.2 million users voted, with over 75% of them backing an edit option.
Last week, in another poll, Musk had asked if Twitter alogrithm should be open source. More than 82% of the users said yes, while former CEO Jack Dorsey said, “the choice of which algorithm to use (or not) should be open to everyone.”
A prolific Twitter user, Musk has over 80 million followers since joining the site in 2009 and has used the platform to make several announcements, including teasing a go-private deal for Tesla that landed him in hot water with regulators.
Of late, however, the world’s richest person has been critical of the social media platform and its policies, and recently ran a Twitter poll asking users if they believed the platform adheres to the principle of free speech, to which over 70% voted “no.” read more
In December, Musk put out a meme that compared CEO Agrawal with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and showed Jack Dorsey as a close associate who was later on executed.
Twitter’s latest quarterly results and lower-than-expected user additions have raised doubts about its growth prospects, even as it pursues big projects such as audio chat rooms and newsletters to end long-running stagnation.
“It does send a message to Twitter … having a meaningful stake in the company will keep them on their toes, because that passive stake could very quickly become an active stake,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC.
Musk – who, according to Forbes, has a net worth of about $300 billion – has been reducing his stake in Tesla since November, when he said he would offload 10% of his holding in the electric-car maker. He has already sold $16.4 billion worth of shares since then.
A regulatory filing on Monday showed that Musk owns 73.5 million Twitter shares, which are held by the Elon Musk Revocable Trust, of which he is the sole trustee. Vanguard is Twitter’s second-biggest shareholder, with an 8.79% stake, according to Refinitiv data.
Twitter shares rose 27.1% on Monday to close at $49.97. The stock, which had fallen…