How Twitter stopped Elon Musk from launching a hostile takeover – but only for a few years

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Free-speech enthusiasts hoping and praying that billionaire investor Elon Musk one day buys out all of Twitter will have to wait until at least 2024 before that happens.

By joining Twitter’s board of directors for a term set to expire in 2024, Musk agreed to a stipulation barring him from owning more than 14.9 percent of the company’s stock.

This stipulation is included in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form 8-K, which pertains to the assigning of board members.


(Source: SEC)

“For so long as Mr. Musk is serving on the Board and for 90 days thereafter, Mr. Musk will not, either alone or as a member of a group, become the beneficial owner of more than 14.9% of the Company’s common stock outstanding at such time, including for these purposes economic exposure through derivative securities, swaps, or hedging transactions,” the stipulation reads.

The form further notes that Musk’s “term” as a board member won’t expire until “the Company’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.”

The meetings usually occur in late May, so given the 90-day requirement, it appears the earliest that Musk could buy out all of Twitter will be sometime in September 2024.

It also seems unlikely, some suspect, that Musk would ever want to purchase all of Twitter in the first place given the hassle of running a social media company.

“Does Musk want to take over Twitter? I don’t think so. The company’s financials aren’t great, and running social media companies is hard. The car crash that is former President Donald Trump’s social media experiment, Truth Social, is a cautionary tale for Musk,” Timothy L. O’Brien of Bloomberg writes.

Despite the best efforts of those on board, former President Donald Trump’s social media app has failed to pick up steam, and according to reports, the former president is furious.

The good news for free-speech enthusiasts is Musk already wields enough power within Twitter — both a 9.2 percent stake and a seat on the board — to potentially institute meaningful change.

In addition, his recent online rhetoric strongly suggests that he intends to push for more free speech on the popular social media platform.

Prior to his stunning purchase on Monday of 9.2 percent of Twitter’s stock, he repeatedly slammed Twitter for its lack of free speech.

Free-speech enthusiasts, many of them conservatives, are for their part hoping Musk goes full bore by, among other things, changing Twitter’s biased algorithm and unbanning former President Trump:

However, Twitter has reportedly already released a statement saying “no” to some of these proposals, despite Musk’s purchase, suggesting an internal battle may be playing out behind the scenes.


An external battle is also occurring, with those on the far-left already beginning to complain loudly, with their primary argument being that Musk’s free speech will allow so-called “deadly disinformation” to be spread.

“Musk’s worrisome track record of using social media irresponsibly should raise huge questions about whether, as a member of the board, he’ll ensure that the platform cracks down on the potentially deadly disinformation that threatens our country,” a piece at NBC News bemoans.

The piece goes on to accuse Musk himself of spreading this so-called “deadly disinformation,” arguing that the following tweet below that mocks vaccine zealots is a form of “anti-vaxxer” “disinformation”:

To be clear, Musk and his family are fully vaccinated. The libertarian-minded investor does, however, believe in granting people the option to decide for themselves whether vaccination is appropriate for them and their families.

“It’s downright scary that someone who has used social media so irresponsibly that he isn’t trusted to tweet without professional supervision will now be in a position to help determine what others do on Twitter,” the stunningly hyperbolic NBC News piece continues.

There’s also concern that Musk may face grief from the SEC.

“The Tesla chief executive on Monday disclosed that he had acquired a 9.2% stake in Twitter – making him its largest shareholder – in an SEC form that investors are required to file when they own more than 5% of a company. The filing, dated March 14, revealed that Musk bought about 73.5 million shares for roughly $2.9 billion,” according to Fox Business Network.

“But security law experts say the filing came several days later than it should have, because the SEC requires anyone who acquires more than 5% of a company’s common share to disclose their holdings within 10 calendar days. Musk appears to have waited 21 days after March 14 to file the form. A spokesperson for Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”


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Vivek Saxena


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