Investors this morning continued to greet Tesla chief Elon Musk’s newly acquired position in Twitter, his sometime target. After a huge surge on Monday following the announcement of Musk’s purchase of almost 10% of Twitter’s common shares, the social network’s stock edged ahead a little less aggressively on Tuesday. It currently is up almost one-third from Friday’s close.
The question now is: What will Musk do with his stake, which makes him its biggest shareholder, with Vanguard No. 2? In the past, Musk’s criticism of Twitter—expressed in tweets, to his 80 million followers on the platform—has been confined to concerns about what he calls “free speech.”
Some Twitter users have joined him in griping about what they see as the company’s excessive controls. Last year, Donald Trump Jr. asked Musk to join his father in setting up a platform to rival Twitter, which had closed the former president’s account in the wake of the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill. Musk did not respond.
Musk has been invited to join Twitter’s board, after he bought that boatload of its stock. But he is limited to owning no more than 14.9% of the company’s shares. But thus far Musk has voiced no ideas about the company’s business operations.
Some on Wall Street are skeptical about Musk’s involvement. Musk’s investment in Twitter is just “retail therapy,” writes AB Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik, in a research note. The billionaire’s interest in the platform seems to be personal, and Shmulik says “there’s no sign he has particularly commercial intent.”
By contrast, activist Elliott Management is pressuring Twitter to increase its revenue, amid a host of other suggestions.