Tesla CEO Elon Musk now owns 9.2 percent of Twitter according to a 13G declaration released today, Bloomberg News reports† According to the filing, Musk bought the stake on March 14. Musk has long been one of Twitter’s most prominent users, and recently surveyed his more than 80 million followers about the platform’s compliance with free speech. Twitter’s stock price rose more than 25 percent in pre-market trading on the news.
CNBC notes that Musk’s Twitter shares were worth $2.89 billion based on Friday’s closing price. Musk’s shares are classified as a passive interest, but Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told CNBC the purchase “could lead to some sort of buyout.”
Musk had publicly questioned Twitter’s approach to free speech via a… poll conducted on his Twitter account on March 25. “Freedom of expression is essential for a functioning democracy. Do you believe that Twitter strictly adheres to this principle?” asked the CEO, before turning into a . to notice continued tweet that “the implications of this poll will be important.”
The implications of this poll will be significant. Vote carefully.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
“Since Twitter acts as the de facto public town square, failure to adhere to the principles of free speech fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk said. tweeted the next day, before asking publicly if a “new platform” is needed. Since Musk bought his stake in Twitter on March 14, it seems like these comments came after his decision to buy a stake.
Earlier this month, Musk said he had a “free speech absolutist‘ after claiming that Starlink had been told by some governments to block access to Russian news sources. “We won’t do this unless at gunpoint,” he said.
Musk’s use of Twitter has occasionally thrown the CEO into hot water. In 2018, he infamously tweeted that he had secured the money to take Tesla private when it reached $420 a share. In the end, it turned out that he had not received financing for the sale, and Musk was forced by the Securities and Exchange Commission to have Tesla’s attorneys pre-approve all tweets about the company’s financial health, sales, delivery numbers, and more.