Elon Musk, in another surprise move, offered to buy Twitter on Thursday for over $40 billion.
Shares jumped on the news giving investors, even more, to cheer about since he went from an active user to the company’s largest shareholder after being miffed at the social media giant’s contradictory free speech principles.
It’s been a little less than two weeks since the so-called “free speech absolutist” took 9.2% stake in the social media platform. This month, Twitter shares have climbed nearly 17%, while the S&P 500 has fallen 2% over the same period.
Since disclosing the stake, Musk has kept Twitter’s management and Wall Street investors eager to know more about his plans for the company on their toes.
On Thursday, Musk will be interviewed by the head of TED Conferences Chris Anderson, and will likely give more details on his plans to take Twitter private, adding to what has already been a methodical timeline.
ELON MUSK FACES SHAREHOLDER LAWSUIT OVER DELAY IN DISCLOSING TWITTER STAKE
January 31: Musk starts purchasing Twitter stock
According to a 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk made a series of cash purchases of Twitter stock between January 31 and April 1. The purchases ranged from as low as $32.80 per share to as high as $40.30 per share. In total, he purchased 73.5 million shares for roughly $2.9 billion.
March 14: Musk reaches 5% threshold requiring disclosure of stake
The SEC requires anyone who acquires more than 5% of a company’s common share to disclose their holdings within 10 calendar days. The 13D filing shows that Musk appears to have passed the 5% threshold on March 14, but he did not disclose the stake until April 4.
ELON MUSK CANCELS TOWN HALL WITH TWITTER EMPLOYEES AFTER DECLINING TWITTER BOARD SEAT
March 25-26: Musk calls out Twitter on free speech
On March 25, Musk tweeted out a poll asking his followers if Twitter “rigorously adheres” to free speech principles. About 70.4% voted no, while 29.6% voted yes.
A day later, he asked his followers what should be done to fix the situation and floated the possibility of launching a new platform.
April 5: Twitter announces Musk’s board appointment
On April 5, a day after news broke about Musk’s 9.2% stake, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced plans to appoint Musk to the company’s board.
“I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our board,” Agrawal tweeted. “He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!”
Musk replied to the tweet, noting that he was looking forward to helping the board “make significant improvements to Twitter in the coming months!”
ELON MUSK TO MAKE MORE TWITTER NOISE DESPITE NO BOARD MEMBERSHIP
April 6: Musk signals he could take more active role at Twitter
On April 6, Musk filed the 13D with the SEC, which outlined the specific details about his Twitter stock purchases and suggested that he could take a more active role at Twitter. The stake was initially disclosed in a 13G, which is typically reserved for passive investors.
It also emphasized that he would not be allowed to own more than 14.9% of Twitter’s stock while serving on the board or for 90 days after. The filing notes that Musk’s board term would expire at Twitter’s 2024 annual meeting.
April 9: Musk declines board seat
On April 9, Musk revealed in a new update to his 13D filing that he declined to join Twitter’s board. The filing also signaled multiple ways he could exert influence on Twitter moving forward.
The filing states that Musk may engage in discussions with Twitter’s board or management team “concerning, including, without limitation, potential business combinations and strategic alternatives, the business operations, capital structure, governance, management,” strategy or matters concerning him. It adds that Musk may express his views directly to board members or executives “and/or the public through social media or other channels with respect to [Twitter’s] business, products and service offerings.”
“Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board,” Agrawal said in a note to employees and subsequent tweet on April 10. “I believe this is for the best.”
Though the filing notes Musk “has no present plans or intentions which would result in or relate to any of the transactions described,” it warns that the plans could change based on numerous factors, including “the relative attractiveness of alternative business and investment opportunities. “
Moving forward, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives believes Musk could be gearing up for a “Game of Thrones” style battle against Twitter, with “the high likelihood that Elon takes a more hostile stance toward Twitter and further builds his active stake in the company. “
“Musk no longer joining the Twitter board could lead to a host of scenarios including 1) joining up with a private equity partner and forcing major strategic changes at Twitter and/or a sale, 2) creating more noise and angst for Twitter Board/execs with various proposed platform changes, or 3) does Musk say “game over” reduce his stake and go home,” Ives wrote in a note to clients on Monday. “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.”
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Musk’s Ted Talk is expected to take place between 11:45 am ET and 2:30 pm ET Thursday.