Elon Musk is already on the road to Twitter control

San Francisco, California - When Tesla's CEO Elon Musk turned down the seat offered to him on Twitter's board of directors, it initially felt like a strange end to the power moves that kicked off with him becoming the platform's biggest shareholder. But there's more to this story than meets the eye.

What would Musk do with a controlling stake in Twitter?
What would Musk do with a controlling stake in Twitter?  © REUTERS

Refusing to join the board could be a way to avoid running into a dead end in his efforts to gain control of Twitter. That's because a board seat would keep him from buying up more than 14.9% of shares.

Hot takes from The Verge and Bloomberg, on the other hand, focus on another explanation: maybe Musk passed up the seat because the responsibilities of being a board member wouldn't be any fun.

One answer is in the paper trail. The billionaire initially filed a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) report saying he bought 9.2% of Twitter's stock, but then suddenly refiled.

The first filing included a type of form called Schedule 13G that said he was a passive investor, or not looking to control the company. But the second form, a Schedule 13D, calls Musk an active investor, making his intent a lot clearer, at least on paper.

So, let's say the richest man in the world, who can freely buy up more Twitter shares, does so.

Shareholders can vote on company issues and decisions, so all it takes to have control of the company would be to have 51% of its shares. Or, if many people with stocks don't vote, which CNBC reports is the case, Musk might not even need that many shares to have a controlling stake in Twitter.

And if notoriously eccentric Musk calls the shots, it'll be a wild ride for Twitter users.

The long and short of it is that Elon Musk is far from done with Twitter.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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