Elon Musk has unexpectedly become the largest shareholder in social media giant Twitter, with a stake of around $3 billion.
The Tesla and SpaceX chief now owns 73,486,938 shares of Twitter, which represents 9.2% of the social media company’s common stock.
The information comes from a new Twitter regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is based on the 800,641,166 shares of common stock outstanding as of February 10, 2022. It appears the purchase took place on March 14.
Musk is a regular and enthusiastic user of Twitter and has around 80 million followers, using it for everything from jokes and memes, to thinking about the nature of the universe, news about rocket launches and Tesla’s performance.
He also used the platform recently to debate the role of Twitter itself, in a conversation that may take on additional resonance after its giant shareholding was revealed.
Late last month, Musk posted a Twitter poll on the subject of Twitter, asking “Free speech is essential to the functioning of a democracy. Do you believe Twitter strictly adheres to this principle?”
At the time, he noted: “The consequences of this ballot will be significant. Please vote carefully.”
Just under a third (29.6%) answered ‘yes’, but a significant majority – 70.4% – answered ‘no’.
After the results were released, he noted, “Given that Twitter serves as a de facto public square, failure to uphold free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” and followed that up with another question: “ Is a new platform needed?
However, so far he hasn’t taken to Twitter to explain why he made such a big investment in the company.