Musk Backing off Twitter Board Opens Door to Hostile Takeover
Elon Musk turned down Twitter’s offer to join its board of directors on Sunday, a dramatic turn after a week in which the billionaire became the company’s largest shareholder, and the company warned of more drama ahead with “distractions ahead.”
In a note posted on Twitter, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal stated that the company’s board of directors had extensive discussions with Musk, but he did not elaborate on the basis for Musk’s decision.The intended appointment, according to Agrawal, was set to take effect on Saturday, preventing the world’s richest person from becoming a beneficial owner of more than 14.9 percent of Twitter’s common shares.
In the note, Agrawal stated, “I believe this is for the best. Distractions will abound, but our objectives and priorities remain constant.”
Musk was still listed on Twitter’s board of directors on its website as of early Monday, despite the unexpected announcement. Musk, whose net wealth is estimated to be $274 billion, simply responded on Twitter with a face-with-hand-over-mouth emoticon. Tesla did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment from the company’s CEO.
Musk, who calls himself a free-speech absolutist and has been critical of Twitter, disclosed a 9.1% interest in the social media network on April 4 and said he expected to make big improvements.
The news of his investment sparked a flurry of speculation about his plans, which ranged from a full takeover of the platform to actively participating in corporate decisions. According to Reuters, some Twitter employees were concerned that Musk’s appointment to the board might jeopardise the company’s ability to monitor content.
Musk, a frequent Twitter user, has made statements to his more than 80 million followers on the social media platform regarding his company and a variety of concerns. Musk conducted a Twitter poll before purchasing a share in the company, asking people if they feel Twitter adheres to the principle of free expression.
He published another poll a day after becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder, this time asking users if they wanted an edit button, a long-awaited feature on which the company has been working. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently polled Twitter followers on whether the company’s headquarters should be transformed into a homeless refuge, an idea favoured by Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos.
Musk proposed modifications to the Twitter Blue premium subscription service on Saturday, including lowering the price, prohibiting advertising, and allowing users to pay in dogecoin. After rocketing 27% on April 4 after Musk revealed his investment, Twitter shares had dropped 7.5 percent through Friday’s close.