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Elon Musk spent almost $3 billion to become Twitter's biggest stakeholder

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (Image credit: Recode)

What you need to know

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has spent $2.9 billion on Twitter stock.
  • Musk bought 73.5 million shares.
  • 9% of Twitter is now owned by the devisive Twitter user.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has become Twitter's biggest stakeholder after splashing almost $3 billion on shares. 73.5 million of them, to be precise.

The AP reports on a regulatory filing that was shared Monday, with Musk's described as a "long-term investor looking to minimize his buying and selling of the shares." However, despite Musk recently suggesting that he could start his own social network amid free speech concerns related to Twitter, one analyst now believes that he is just as likely to make a play for an "aggressive ownership role" at the social network.

"We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter," Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said in a client note early Monday.

Musk's stock buy saw Twitter's price surge 20%.

Musk has long been a divisive figure on Twitter. With 80 million followers he is one of the most-followed people on the platform, but how he uses those followers has been a cause for concern. In 2018 Musk and Tesla agreed to hand over $40 million in civil fines resulting from his claim that he could take the company private — and had the cash to do so — at a price of $420 per share. Ultimately, it was discovered that Musk didn't have the money ready at all. As a result, Musk now has to have his tweets checked by a corporate lawyer, notes the AP.

What this means for Twitter isn't clear right now, although Musk seems unlikely to be putting in quite so much money without expecting something in return. Friday's closing share price has Musk's new shares worth $2.9 billion. That's a lot of money, even by Elon Musk standards.

Elon Musk now owns a 9% stake in Twitter.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.