It turns out that Elon Musk won’t be joining Twitter’s board of directors after all.
Late Sunday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said Musk “has decided not to join our board,” sharing a message he sent the company regarding the change.
Musk was set to officially become a board member on Saturday, according to the note, and opted out the same day. Agrawal did not explain Musk’s decision to reverse course, saying only that it is “for the best.”
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives suggested one possible stumbling block — Musk’s frequent tweeting. “In our opinion, the Twitter board and Musk could not come to an agreement around Musk’s communications with the public (various polls) over Twitter as he likely needed to take a more back seat/quiet stance as part of joining the board,” he said in a report.
Musk, the billionaire SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO had purchased a 9.2% stake in the social media giant, or 73.5 million shares, worth about $2.9 billion, according to an April 5 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Twitter then said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it entered into an agreement with Musk that would give him a seat on its board, with his term expiring in 2024. Agrawal said at the time that Musk “would bring great value” to the board.
After reports that Musk had opted against joining Twitter’s board, he tweeted out a single emoji to his more than 81 million followers on the platform — a face with a hand over its mouth; that has since been deleted.
Musk had been expected to push Twitter on issues of free speech, a topic on which he’s been outspoken, but there’s no word on how or whether that will change in light of his decision to not join the board.
The price of Twitter shares fell about 7% in Monday premarket trading following the announcement, Bloomberg reported. But the move means that Musk is now free to own more than 14.9% of Twitter’s outstanding stock, which he wouldn’t have been able to do as a board member.
Ives, calling the situation a “soap opera,” said Musk is likely to continue pressuring Twitter to make changes to its service, while the billionaire also could look to team with a buyout firm to try to purchase the company and take it private.
Twitter is among several social media platforms trying to strike a balance between free expression and the censoring of content deemed hateful, harmful or false. The company’s founder, Jack Dorsey, has been promoting the idea of an open-source media platform with few controls.
As of April 2022, Musk’s net worth of roughly $274 billion makes him the wealthiest person on the planet, according to Forbes.