After all, Elon Musk won’t be joining the Twitter board

Less than a week ago, it was announced that Tesla’s CEO and billionaire Elon Musk (opens in new tab) bought 9.2% of the shares of Twitter, raising its valuation by 27% in the following days and becoming the biggest individual shareholder of the social media company. Shortly after the announcement of Musk’s investment on Twitter, CEO Parag Agrawal announced that he was also being added to the company’s board of directors.

However, just days before that appointment was made, Agrawal has now announced that Musk will not be joining the Twitter board, tweeting “Elon shared that very morning that he will no longer be joining the board.”

“We have and will always value the contribution of our shareholders, whether they are on our board or not,” wrote Agrawal. “Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his contribution.”

No firm reason has been given, but it’s not hard to guess that Twitter was incredibly cautious about having Musk on the board in conjunction with his frequent public pronouncements, which can range from playful to bizarre and deadly serious. Since Musk bought his stake in Twitter, he’s suggested changes and a price cut to Twitter’s premium subscription service, asked if the platform was dying, suggested removing the ‘w’ from Twitter, asked about turning Twitter’s headquarters into a shelter for the homeless, considered banning advertising on the platform and… whether to allow users to pay in dogecoin.

This is the kind of thing that gives shareholders kittens. And it looks like the Twitter team might not be too happy either. (opens in new tab).

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At times, Musk has in the past gotten into serious trouble with his public pronouncements about businesses he is involved with. When he tweeted asking if he should take Tesla private in 2018, understandably, the company’s valuation went zigzag and resulted in the SEC taking action against him.

Which is a useful context to keep in mind with the whole free speech angle: it means different things whether you’re a normie or a billionaire CEO. Musk described himself as “an absolutist of free speech” (opens in new tab) in the past (there in the context of refusing to ban Russian news sources from Starlink.)

So… this is probably not the most surprising news in the world. This also has consequences for Musk’s future strategy, as being on the board would limit his personal stake in the company to 14.9% – but if he’s not on the board, he might have more stakes. Twitter’s overall valuation would represent a fraction of Musk’s net worth, so it’s not beyond possibility.

Meanwhile, Musk makes memes and tweets, and Twitter’s rating should be less affected by any outlandish outbursts or suggestions. Musk’s only public reaction so far was tweeting an emoji of a laughing face with his hand over his mouth – which he later deleted.

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