Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and free speech proponent, has taken a 9.2% stake in Twitter to become the platform's largest shareholder.
Musk’s move to acquire a huge percent of the company’s stocks comes a week after the Tesla founder hinted at making a move to shake up the social media industry in defence of free speech. Behind the scenes, Musk had already made moves, with CNBC reporting that the purchase was an accumulation of common shares to March 14.
As Rebel News reported, Musk was giving “serious thought” to starting a new social media platform due to Twitter's failure to uphold free speech on the platform.
Twitter shares surged by 26% in premarket trading after Musk’s purchase was revealed Monday in a regulatory finding. Musk’s stake in the company is worth around $2.89B based on Friday’s market close, Bloomberg reported.
Musk is one of the largest personalities on Twitter and has become a driving force on the platform for his ability to popularize memes and move entire financial markets through tweets alone.
The announcement of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter shares will be another test for Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal, who replaced Jack Dorsey following his resignation in November. Argawal promised to increase the platform's accountability, make decisions faster, and improve the execution of the company’s product development.
Following Agrawal’s ascension, the company set ambitious goals for growth, including goals for increasing its annual revenue to $7.5 billion. The company also plans to acquire 315 million daily users by the end of next year.
In announcing Musk’s acquisition of the shares, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said that Musk’s stake could lead to a “more aggressive ownership role.”
In December, Musk criticized Agrawal, who was then taking over from Dorsey as the company’s CEO, depicting him in a meme as Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, and Dorsey as the Soviet NKVD head Nikolai Yezhov being shoved into the water and erased from history.