Elon Musk just became Twitter’s largest shareholder

Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired 9% of Twitter after expressing concerns about the social media platform’s commitment to free speech.

On the basis of Friday’s closing price, it is unclear what Musk’s purchase of 73.5 million shares is really about. But Musk, who has 80 million followers on Twitter and often posts there, has questioned if Twitter undermines democracy and free speech.

In a regulatory filing on Monday, Musk described himself as a long-term investor seeking to minimize the number of times he purchases and sells the shares.

Analysts are skeptical about how long the mercurial CEO will stay on the sidelines since he has contemplated starting his own social network.

“This passive stake could be just the beginning of bigger conversations with the Twitter board and management that could ultimately lead to a more active stake and a more aggressive ownership role for Twitter,” Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives said in a client note early Monday.

Before Monday’s opening bell, Twitter’s stock rose 20%.

Musk has repeatedly clashed with financial regulators about his use of Twitter and told his more than 80 million Twitter followers that he was considering building his own social media platform.

As Musk buys Twitter stock, he is locked in a bitter dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over his posting rights. Musk’s attorney contends that the Securities and Exchange Commission violates Musk’s First Amendment rights in court motions.

After Musk announced in October of 2018 that he had enough money to take Tesla private at $420 per share, a corporate lawyer approved his tweets. A $40 million fine was paid by Musk and Tesla, and Musk’s tweets were approved.

Tesla’s stock price soared despite its lack of funding and public status. Several governance changes are included in the settlement, such as Musk’s removal as chairman of the board and preapproval of his tweets. With his posts, Musk is accused by the SEC of manipulating stock prices.

The SEC has been accused of harassing MuSK and infringing on his First Amendment rights by his lawyer, who has now filed a suit with the US District Court in Manhattan.

The SEC subpoena and settlement agreement were both requested to be thrown out by Musk via Judge Alison Nathan in March. “The SEC is trampled on Mr. Musk’s First Amendment rights through this agreement,” said Spiro.

Musk has rejected the SEC’s attempt to throw out the settlement, and the SEC responded in a court motion that it has the authority to subpoena Tesla about Musk’s tweets.

Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted that he was considering selling 10% of his Tesla stake on Nov. 6, 2021. The SEC is investigating the tweets. While investigating Musk and Tesla’s compliance with disclosure controls under the 2018 agreement, the commission issued administrative subpoenas.

In addition, the commission investigates whether Tesla accurately described in public filings whether it complied with the controls.

Musk has not followed the proper legal procedure to challenge the subpoenas, according to the commission. Musk’s challenge was deemed frivolous by Melissa Armstrong, an SEC attorney, who noted that Musk and Tesla agreed to have tweets pre-approved by other Tesla employees.

In his opinion, “Courts have long recognized that Congress gave the SEC broad authority to conduct investigations into possible violations of federal securities laws and to demand the production of evidence relevant to such inquiries,” Armstrong wrote.

Originally issued under seal, the subpoenas are part of a formal order by the commission authorizing the investigation. They seek all written communications regarding the Nov. 6 tweets and whether they were shown to Tesla lawyers for approval.

Attorney Spiro has requested oral arguments in the Musk case.

Tesla Inc. posted first-quarter delivery data two days after Musk revealed he owned Twitter shares. Despite delivering 310,000 vehicles during the period, the company’s performance was slightly below expectations.

Musk began selling Tesla stock soon after announcing the November stock sale on Twitter, stating it was to pay tax obligations on stock options. The IRS estimates Musk’s tax obligation at $10 to $15 billion. A portion of that would have gone toward buying Twitter.

Currently, he has sold approximately $16.4 billion worth of shares. As of December 31, Musk has sold 10% of his shares.

Diksha Dutt is a coder, blogger, and teacher. Apart from blogging, she is an avid reader and a travel enthusiast. Thanks for stopping by and getting to know her.