Elon Musk could be preparing for a “Game of Thrones”-style battle against Twitter following news that the Tesla executive will not be joining the social media platform’s board.
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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said Musk had declined the company’s offer to join its board. However, in an amended SEC filing Monday morning, Musk indicated he will continue to be very vocal about Twitter’s issues and may even continue to buy more stock.
Musk, who has been critical of Twitter’s approach to free speech, recently purchased a 9.2% stake in the company after buying 73.5 million shares for roughly $2.9 billion, making him its largest shareholder.
“The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly,” Agrawal wrote in a note to employees. “We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a 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. The board offered him a seat.”
Musk joining the board would’ve capped his Twitter stake at no more than 14.9% for the duration of his term or 90 days after. His board term would’ve expired at Twitter’s 2024 annual meeting.
“We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input,” Agrawal continued. “There will be distractions ahead, but our priorities and goals remain unchanged.”
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Wedbush Securities managing director of equity research Dan Ives speculates that the board and Musk could not come to an agreement around his communications with the public on Twitter, adding that a board seat would’ve likely required the billionaire to take a more quiet stance.
“This now goes from a Cinderella story with Musk joining the Twitter Board and keeping his stake under 14.9% helping move Twitter strategically forward to likely a ‘Game of Thrones’ battle between Musk and Twitter with the high likelihood that Elon takes a more hostile stance towards Twitter and further builds his active stake in the company,” Ives wrote in a note to clients Monday.
Ives believes that Musk’s possible scenarios moving forward include joining with a private equity partner to force major strategic changes or a sale of Twitter, offering various proposals for platform changes or reducing his stake.
“In our opinion its likely paths 1 or 2 with the Street now focused on Musk’s next poker (next filing/stake in Twitter) move in this ongoing soap opera between Elon and Twitter,” Ives adds.
Following the disclosure of his Twitter stake, Musk teased that “significant improvements” would be coming to the platform over the next several months. Musk polled his 81.3 million followers on April 4 to get their thoughts on introducing an edit button. A day later, Twitter revealed that it has been working on an edit button for its Blue subscribers since last year, emphasizing it did not get the idea from Musk’s poll.
In addition, Musk has proposed sweeping changes to the Blue subscription service, including slashing its price, banning advertising and giving an option to pay in the cryptocurrency dogecoin. He also recently floated converting Twitter’s headquarters into a homeless shelter.
As of the time of publication, shares of Twitter have climbed more than 9% year-to-date.