The billionaire entrepreneur, who runs both SpaceX and Tesla, has purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter, regulatory documents released on Monday (April 4) reveal. His stake in the company is worth nearly $2.9 billion based on Friday’s (April 1) stock prices, Bloomberg reported.
According to a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the South African-born billionaire acquired nearly 73.5 million Twitter shares — a 9.2 percent stake in the company.
That makes Musk the social media platform’s largest single shareholder, according to Bloomberg, which also noted that Twitter’s stock price increased as much as 27% on Monday in response to the news.
Investors responded quickly. At 7.15 am in New York (1115 GMT) Twitter’s stock was trading at about $49, up by around 26 percent.
The purchase doesn’t come completely out of left field. On March 25, Musk posted a Twitter poll asking his followers if they believe the platform “rigorously adheres” to the principle of free speech. “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” he added in another tweet that day.
Musk started a poll Monday asking Twitter users if they want an edit button, a long-awaited feature on which the social media platform has been working. It was followed by Chief Executive Parag Agrawal urging users to “vote carefully”.
Within two hours of starting the poll, more than 1.1 million users voted, with over 75 percent of them backing an edit option.
Musk has long been one of the most popular and prolific Twitter users. He frequently employs the platform to give his more than 80 million followers updates about new products and systems in development, such as SpaceX’s huge Starship Mars rocket. He also dispenses a wealth of memes, jokes and opinions about current events.
Of late, however, the world’s richest person has been critical of the social media platform and its policies, and recently ran a Twitter poll asking users if they believed the platform adheres to the principle of free speech.
Some of Musk’s Twitter posts have landed him in trouble. For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk for fraud in September 2018, claiming he misled investors with a tweet from August of that year stating that funding had been secured to take Tesla private at $420 per share. (“420” is a recurring joke with Musk; the number references April 20, a cannabis culture holiday.)
The SEC dispute was settled when Musk and Tesla each paid a $20 million fine and Musk agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman, as Reuters reported.
Musk is the richest person in the world, according to Forbes, whose “real-time billionaire” tracker pegs the entrepreneur’s current net worth at $302 billion. Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is a distant second, at $194 billion.