Who owns Twitter? South African-born American business magnate and investor Elon Musk owns Twitter. Elon Musk — who is also the founder, CEO, and chief engineer of SpaceX; CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI; and president of the philanthropic Musk Foundation — became the sole owner of Twitter on the 27th of October 2022.
Founded in 2006, Twitter was the 15th most-used social media platform as of 2022. Before Elon Musk purchased Twitter to become the owner and CEO of the social media service, Twitter was a publicly-owned company. It traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol $TWTTR. Elon Musk, who joined Twitter in 2009, has always emphasized the need for the social media service to be committed to free speech while criticizing the company’s content-moderation policies in several tweets. This and many more reasons led the billionaire to purchase the social media service after a series of negotiations and lawsuits.
Brief overview of Twitter and its significance as a social media platform
Twitter is a social media service that was founded on the 21st of March 2006, and the platform has grown to become one of the most popular and influential social media platforms on the internet. Twitter works by allowing its users to post short messages, images, and videos called “tweets” that can be viewed and interacted with by other users of the platform, on their timelines. Although the use of Twitter was first restricted to the members of the developer’s company and their families, the social media service has become a platform for communication and sharing information all around the world.
Twitter has been used by individuals, organizations, and governments alike to share news, promote causes, and engage with others on a wide range of topics. It is used by journalists and media houses to break news and share political commentary, by businesses to promote their goods and services, by entertainers and celebrities to promote their brands and connect with fans, and share personal anecdotes, experiences, and opinions. Twitter is a household name for most people who seek real-time information and discussion on social media.
Twitter has several features that make it stand out from other social media services. One of the key features is brevity. Twitter users can only make a tweet made up of 280 characters at a time, and this allows them to form their thoughts and ideas into concise, impactful messages. Longer messages can be passed with a string of tweets known as a “thread.” Depending on an individual’s privacy settings, other Twitter users can interact with their tweets by liking, commenting, retweeting, or quote-tweeting them. Retweets allow Twitter users to share tweets and opinions made by other people. Users can also add their opinions to other people’s tweets by quote-tweeting them.
Another key feature of the Twitter platform is hashtags. Hashtags are keywords or phrases that are preceded by the “#” symbol. However, they are very significant on Twitter. Due to its massive influence, Twitter has become a tool for social and political activism. Hashtags on Twitter are used to identify and organize tweets around specific topics or themes. People often use them to organize and mobilize Twitter users around specific events or causes. For this reason, governments have banned Twitter several times in an attempt to silence their citizens.
Trends are also another feature that gives Twitter an edge over other social media platforms. Twitter trends are topics that feature highlights, popular topics, and hashtags that are currently being discussed on the platform. Twitter trends are determined by an algorithm based on the volume and velocity of tweets around a particular topic. Trends also amplify hashtags as it lets people know what is going on around their location. Twitter also allows its users to send private messages to other users through its direct message (DM) feature.
Twitter is a very significant social media service. The platform plays a very important role in shaping public discourse. News travel very fast on Twitter, and it is easy to know what is going on in other places through the platform. This is why it often gets banned by governments in unstable countries. Twitter is also an important tool for several businesses and organizations. Twitter’s simplicity and efficiency make it an accessible platform for anyone looking to share their ideas, engage with others, and stay informed on the latest news and trends.
History of Twitter Ownership
Twitter was founded on the 21st of March 2006 by Founder Jack Dorsey and Cofounders Evan Williams, and Biz Stone. The trio was together at Odeo, a podcasting company that managed a website and directory used for the publishing and aggregation of podcasts. At the time, Odeo was facing stiff competition from other giant tech companies that almost put it out of business. Therefore, the leadership of the company decided to steer the company in a different direction. To achieve this, the board at Odeo was divided into small teams that were expected to brainstorm to come up with a suitable idea for the company’s rebrand. It was during one of these brainstorming sessions that the idea of Twitter was born.
Jack Dorsey was an undergraduate student at New York University when he came up with the idea of Twitter. He shared the idea with his team members at Odeo, describing it as a service that could connect people over the phone through texts. Everyone loved the idea, and luckily, it was selected for prototyping amongst other ideas from other teams. When the demos of all the approved ideas were to be made, Jack and two other people were assigned to build the first-ever version of Twitter. On the 21st of March 2006, Jack and his cofounders created the very first version of Twitter, and Jack made the very first tweet ever. The project was code-named “Twttr” to symbolize the five characters of the American SMS short codes, and also due to the fact that the “twitter.com” domain had already been registered by someone else.
Jack Dorsey, his cofounders, and some other members of Odeo formed a new company and acquired Odeo with its assets. At this point, Twitter and its parent organizations were owned by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, and some members of the old Odeo, after purchasing the company from investors and shareholders. After the forming of a new company and the acquisition of Odeo, Twitter was spun off into its own entity. Twitter continued to grow and gather more users, and its founder, Jack Dorsey, emerged as the CEO of the company. Twitter continued to improve its service and add new features as it kept growing rapidly. The platform attracted several celebrities and important personalities as it grew.
The first significant change in the ownership of Twitter occurred on the 7th of November 2013, when the company went public by having its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange at the rate of $26 per share for 70,000,000 shares. While Jack Dorsey and his cofounders formerly owned the company, it became a publicly traded company owned by several shareholders. The biggest shareholder at the time was cofounder Evan Williams, with about a 10.4% stake in the company. Williams kept selling his shares throughout the years till he departed the board in 2019. Jack Dorsey owned a 4.3% stake worth about $1.1 billion. Dick Costolo, who was once Twitter’s COO and CEO, owned about a $346 million stake in the company. Peter Fenton, an early investor, and a board director at the time, owned a stake worth $1.4 billion.
In 2016, Twitter’s shares rose by 20% after the rumor of a potential takeover by giant companies such as Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), The Walt Disney Company, Verizon, and Salesforce.com. However, this takeover never happened due to several reasons.
Current Owners of Twitter
The following are the current owners of Twitter:
Elon Musk is the current owner and CEO of Twitter. Musk is the second-richest individual in the world, with a net worth of about $202.4 billion. Asides from being the owner and CEO of Twitter, he is also the founder, CEO, and chief engineer of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla, founder of The Boring Company, cofounder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and the president of the philanthropic Musk Foundation.
Elon Musk developed an interest in computing and video games by age 10, and he had already developed and sold a video game to a magazine by age 12. Elon Musk developed and co-founded several other services. However, he had no involvement in the development of Twitter. Like every other person, Elon Musk joined Twitter normally in 2009, and he grew to become one of the most popular accounts on the social media service. Over time, he developed a lot of interest in the platform. He took on the quest of unlocking Twitter’s full potential, which eventually led to the business magnate’s decision to purchase the social media service.
When Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he transformed the company from a publicly-owned company into a privately-held company. Therefore, Twitter is not under any legal obligation to make its financial and performance data public. However, despite the information about Twitter’s shareholders not being publicly available anymore, we know that Elon Musk is the largest shareholder on Twitter, owning about 79% of the shares. Musk’s personal investment in Twitter, at the time the company was taken private, is about $27 billion. Since Elon Musk did not fund the acquisition deal alone, he has shareholders who made contributions to fund Twitter’s acquisition in exchange for a stake in the company.
How Elon Musk Became the Owner of Twitter
Elon Musk became more active and popular on Twitter, and even rose to be one of the most followed accounts on the platform. The business magnate has had a lot of unpopular opinions on the platform and has always spoken out against Twitter’s stringent content-moderation policies. Elon Musk is a staunch advocate of free speech, and this, among many reasons, prompted him to purchase Twitter.
On April 4th, 2022, Elon Musk took the first step towards transforming Twitter by purchasing a 9.2% stake in the company to become the largest shareholder, according to Twitter’s filings with the securities exchange commission (SEC). After the news of Musk’s purchase of shares in Twitter got out, the company’s stock rose by about 27%. In a call with Twitter’s CEO and the company’s board chair, Musk discussed the possibility of joining the Twitter board, taking the company private, or starting a rival company. After a series of meetings, Twitter’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee recommended that Musk be invited to join the board, citing his ownership stake, active use and interest in the Twitter platform, and technical expertise. The committee also posited that Elon Musk taking the company private or starting a rival social media service just after purchasing a stake in Twitter could have adverse effects on the company’s stock.
As a result of Twitter’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee’s recommendations, Elon Musk was invited to join the board of directors of the company by the CEO of Twitter at the time, Parag Agrawal, in a letter. Elon Musk’s invitation to join the Twitter board meant that he could not purchase or own more than 15% of the company’s common stock, either as an individual or a member of a group. This offer also placed legal restrictions on what Elon Musk could say about Twitter publicly, whether he chose to accept the offer to become a board member or not.
On the 5th of April 2022, Twitter announced that Elon Musk was joining its board of directors. However, on the same day, Elon Musk called the founder and former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, whose seat on Twitter’s board was to expire in a few months. Elon Musk urged Dorsey to stay on the board; however, Dorsey, who has always maintained the opinion that Twitter was better off being a private company, declined Musk’s request. This conversation with Jack Dorsey may have influenced Elon Musk’s decision to reject a seat on Twitter’s board after much consideration.
On the 9th of April 2022, Elon Musk announced to the Twitter board that he had declined the invitation to join the company as a board member. He then announced to them that he would like to make an offer to take Twitter private instead. On April 10, 2022, Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO at the time, announced in a tweet that Elon Musk had declined the invitation to join Twitter’s board of directors. Rattled by Elon Musk’s intention to make an offer to take Twitter private, Twitter’s board of directors met with the company’s lawyers and financial advisors on the 15th of April 2022, to discuss the impact of Elon Musk’s offer and weigh their options.
Elon Musk sent an official acquisition offer to Brett Taylor, the chairman of the Twitter board at the time, on the 14th of April 2022, offering to buy the company at about $54.20 per share or $44 billion and take the company private. In his letter to the chairman of Twitter’s board, Elon Musk reiterated his belief in free speech as a societal imperative for any functioning democracy. He claimed he invested in Twitter because he believed in the social media service’s potential to become a platform for free speech all over the world. However, he stated that he had realized that Twitter could not thrive or serve its purpose in its current form, except the company was transformed and made private. Musk ended his letter by saying he would reconsider his position as a shareholder if his offer were rejected.
On the 14th of April 2022, Elon Musk announced in a tweet his offer to buy Twitter. In his tweet, he hinted that he was going to take the company private and promised to keep as many shareholders as allowed in the privatized Twitter. In response to Musk’s public announcement, Twitter’s board adopted a poison pill strategy, officially known as a shareholder rights plan, to cripple Musk’s chances of succeeding in a hostile takeover, while they consider his proposal. While considering Musk’s proposal, Twitter’s board chairman met with the company’s largest institutional shareholders, who advised him to seriously consider Elon’s offer. Twitter’s executives, on the other hand, presented Twitter’s business plan and financial projections as an alternative to Musk’s offer.
On the 20th of April 2022, Elon Musk announced that he had secured financing to enable him to go through with the acquisition to the tune of $46.5 billion – $7 billion of senior secured bank loans, $6 billion in subordinated debt, $6.25 billion in personal loans, $20 billion in cash equity, and $7.1 billion from independent investors. Musk sent another letter to the chairman of the Twitter board, urging him to accept his offer, as it was his best and final offer. If Elon Musk had carried out his threat of reconsidering his position as a shareholder and dumped his 9.2% stake, Twitter’s stock would have gone down significantly.
After a series of meetings, Twitter advisors J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs approved the deal while claiming that it was a fair one financially. Twitter’s board publicly accepted Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter and make the company private; however, they decided to renegotiate the terms of the deal by making a few additions. One of the clauses included in the deal was that Elon Musk had to go through with the deal, and Twitter had the power to force him to complete the acquisition if all terms were met. Also, a $1 billion termination fee was included in the new terms of the deal, to be paid by Elon Musk if he violates the contract and Twitter decides to get out of the deal. The renegotiated term of the deal also stated that Elon Musk could not publicly criticize the company or its officials while the deal was ongoing.
While the deal seemed to be going well, Elon Musk suddenly announced in a tweet that he was placing the deal on hold, citing the high percentage of spam or fake accounts in Twitter’s daily active users as the reason. However, he reiterated his commitment to the acquisition of Twitter. Elon Musk requested that Twitter provide the data on their users and even challenged Parag Agrawal to a public debate to prove that the spam and fake accounts on Twitter, are lesser than 5% of Twitter’s users. On June 6, 2022, Elon Musk threatened to terminate his agreement, alleging that Twitter has refused to disclose the number of spam accounts on its platform. By June 8, Twitter caved into Musk’s requests and agreed to provide him with a “fire hose” data stream of tweets. ‘
On July 8, 2022, Elon Musk announced his intention to terminate the acquisition process again after several complaints were filed against Twitter, accusing the company of deception. In response to Musk’s threat, Brett Taylor, Twitter’s board chairman, declared the board’s intention to pursue legal action to force Elon Musk to uphold his end of the deal. On the 12th of July 2022, Twitter formally launched its lawsuit against Elon Musk in the Delaware Court of Chancery. This lawsuit witnessed several subpoenas being served and both parties making various claims. However, on the 4th of October 2022, Elon Musk agreed to continue with the acquisition process at the agreed price. While the acquisition deal was nearing completion, a report was released that Elon Musk was planning on laying off about 75% of Twitter’s staff. On the 26th of October 2022, Elon Musk tweeted a video of himself carrying a kitchen sink into Twitter’s headquarters, captioned “Entering Twitter HQ – Let that sink in.” While at the headquarters, Elon Musk tells employees that while the layoffs will definitely happen, they will not be at the rate reported by the media.
On the afternoon of October 27, 2022, Elon Musk and Twitter close their deal, making Elon Musk the new owner of Twitter.
Top Twitter Individual Shareholders
Although Elon Musk is the sole owner of Twitter, he has some individual shareholders who helped to fund his Twitter acquisition deal. These individual shareholders include:
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud
Alwaleed bin Talal is a prince and a member of the Saudi royal family. Alwaleed bin Talal is the founder and chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, a diversified investment company based in Saudi Arabia. He has been listed on Forbes’ list of billionaires numerous times, and was once ranked as the world’s richest Arab. He owns a lot of businesses and has a minority interest in others through his company. Alwaleed is known for his vast wealth and his investments in numerous companies around the world, including Apple, Twitter, Citigroup, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Alwaleed is the second-largest shareholder on Twitter, with an estimated $2 billion contribution that amounts to about a 5.7% stake. He was also a previous shareholder on Twitter when the company was publicly traded. However, instead of selling his shares when the company went private, he chose to convert them into a stake in the company.
Larry Ellison is an American entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist, and is best known as the co-founder, executive chairman, and former CEO of Oracle Corporation, one of the world’s largest software companies. Larry Ellison is also Elon Musk’s friend and the third-highest shareholder in the privately-owned Twitter. Ellison made an estimated contribution of $1 billion to fund Musk’s Twitter acquisition deal, which translates to about a 3% stake in the company.
Jack Dorsey is an American entrepreneur and businessman. He is the founder and former CEO of Twitter, and also the co-founder and CEO of the digital payments company, Block, Inc., Dorsey served as the CEO of Twitter from its inception until 2008. It was during this period he co-founded Block, Inc. He later returned to Twitter as CEO in 2015 and held the position until he finally stepped down in 2021.
Jack Dorsey was instrumental in Elon Musk’s desire to purchase Twitter, and he is said to have strongly influenced some of Musk’s decisions. Jack Dorsey has a 2.9% stake in Twitter, with an estimated investment of $1 billion. Having been the CEO and board member of the previous publicly-owned Twitter, Dorsey had shared at Twitter before Musk acquired it. However, instead of selling his shares when Musk wanted to make the company privately owned, he rolled over his investment in Twitter to acquire a 2.9% stake.
Top Twitter Institutional Shareholders
Apart from individual shareholders who helped to fund Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition bid, some holding companies also played important roles that have elevated them to the position of institutional shareholders. These companies include:
Andreessen Horowitz is a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, two successful entrepreneurs, and investors who had previously co-founded Netscape Communications Corporation and Loudcloud, respectively.
Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, invests in early-stage and growth-stage technology companies in a variety of sectors, including software, healthcare, fintech, and crypto. The firm has invested in a number of high-profile companies, such as Airbnb, Lyft, Slack, Coinbase, and Robinhood, among others.
In addition to providing capital, Andreessen Horowitz also offers operational support and strategic guidance to its portfolio companies, leveraging the expertise and network of its team members, who have experience in building and scaling successful startups. The firm is known for its thesis-driven approach to investing, which involves identifying and investing in promising trends and technologies before they become mainstream.
According to court filings, co-founder Marc Andreessen wrote to Elon Musk to inform him that his growth fund was in for $250 million with no additional work required, if Musk was looking for equity partners. Co-founder Ben Horowitz has also been seen praising Elon Musk in several tweets. The venture capital firm’s estimated contribution to Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition is about $400 million.
Sequoia Capital is a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded in 1972 by Don Valentine and is one of the oldest and most successful venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Sequoia Capital invests in early-stage and growth-stage technology companies across a range of industries, including software, fintech, healthcare, and energy.
The firm has a reputation for investing in and supporting some of the world’s most successful technology companies, such as Apple, Google, PayPal, YouTube, and Airbnb, among others. Sequoia Capital is also known for its focus on working closely with its portfolio companies to help them achieve their goals and overcome challenges.
A partner at the Sequoia Capital firm, Roelof Botha, from South Africa, has known Elon Musk for a while and has worked on some of Elon’s famous projects, such as PayPal. Roelof has been instrumental in Sequoia’s investment in Twitter. The firm has an estimated contribution of about $800 million to give it a 2.4% stake in Twitter. Sequoia has also invested in some of Elon Musk’s other projects, such as The Boring Company and SpaceX.
Vy Capital is a private equity and venture capital firm based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and founded in 2013 by Alexander Tamas. The firm focuses on investing in technology companies in emerging markets, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Vy Capital’s portfolio includes investments in a range of sectors, including e-commerce, social media, gaming, and fintech. Some of its notable investments include India’s leading e-commerce company, Flipkart, the online retailer Farfetch, and the online gaming company Rovio, among others.
The firm’s investment strategy involves seeking out companies with strong growth potential and providing them with the capital and resources needed to scale and succeed. Vy Capital has about a 2.1% stake in Twitter with about $700 million investment.
Binance is a global cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to trade various digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins. It was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao, a Chinese-Canadian software developer, and entrepreneur. Binance has quickly become one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of trading volume and user base. The platform offers a wide range of trading pairs and advanced trading tools, such as limit orders, stop-limit orders, and margin trading. It also offers its own cryptocurrency token, Binance Coin (BNB), which users can use to pay for trading fees and other services on the platform.
A while after Elon Musk made the initial bid for Twitter, Binance contacted him and contributed $500 million to the acquisition deal. The exchange service’s executives have declared their support for Elon Musk in his war against bots on the Twitter platform. They also believe that Twitter has the potential to explore and enhance cryptocurrency-related technology and solutions, such as authentication and payment methods.
The Qatar Investment Authority
The Qatar Investment Authority is a sovereign wealth fund owned by the State of Qatar. It was founded in 2005 with the aim of diversifying the country’s economy and generating long-term returns for future generations of Qataris. The fund is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, with assets under management estimated to be over $400 billion.
The Qatar Investment Authority invests globally across a range of asset classes, including equities, real estate, fixed income, and alternative investments. The fund has made a number of high-profile investments in recent years, including the acquisition of London’s Shard skyscraper, the purchase of a stake in the Empire State Building in New York, and investments in several major companies, such as Volkswagen, Barclays, and Credit Suisse.
The fund’s investment strategy involves seeking out opportunities that align with its long-term investment horizon and risk profile, and taking an active approach to managing its portfolio. The Qatar Investment Authority played an important role in Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. The fund contributed an estimated $375 million toward the acquisition deal.
Apart from the stake the shareholders in the now privately owned Twitter get, anyone who has invested $250 million or more gets special access to confidential company information. Apart from individual and institutional shareholders, other entities that ensured the success of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter are banks. Banks such as Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, Japanese banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho, the French bank Société Générale, and BNP Paribas contributed more than a quarter of the total funding used by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter. While these banks do not have a stake in the company, they are guaranteed to get an estimated amount of $1 billion in interest every year. Also, they have half of Elon Musk’s Tesla shares as collateral to fall back on, in case of default in payment.
Top Individual Twitter Shareholders Before Elon Musk Takeover
Before Elon Musk purchased Twitter, the majority of Twitter’s shares belonged to institutional investors. The little that belonged to individual investors mostly belonged to Twitter board members, the executives, and some members of staff. Twitter’s top individual shareholders before the acquisition by Elon Musk include:
Jack Dorsey was the highest shareholder on Twitter, with about 18 million shares, which were approximately 2.4% of the outstanding shares as of the most recent filings available. Dorsey was one of the co-founders of Twitter, and he served as the company’s CEO from its founding in 2006 until 2008. He then returned to the CEO role in 2015 and held the position until 2021. During his time at Twitter, Dorsey has been credited with helping to shape the company’s vision and direction, as well as with the development of many of its key features and innovations.
Dorsey’s involvement with Twitter has not been without controversy, however, as he has faced criticism over the company’s handling of issues such as hate speech and misinformation on its platform. Despite this, Dorsey has remained committed to Twitter’s mission of facilitating communication and information-sharing on a global scale. He continues to be one of the company’s largest individual shareholders.
Omid Kordestani is a prominent technology executive and a former board member and executive chairman of Twitter. He was also a shareholder in the company. He owned about 934,247 shares, which were valued at a little above $50m.
Kordestani joined Twitter’s board of directors in 2015 and was appointed executive chairman later that same year. Prior to joining Twitter, he worked at Google for many years, serving in a number of senior executive roles, including Chief Business Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development. Before that, he worked at a number of other prominent technology companies, including Netscape and Hewlett-Packard. In addition to his role at Twitter, he is also involved in a number of other technology startups and initiatives. He has been recognized as one of the most influential figures in the technology industry.
Bret Taylor is a prominent figure in the technology industry and was a member of the board of directors of Twitter. Taylor is a co-founder and CEO of the customer relationship management software company, Salesforce, which he founded in 2018. Prior to that, he was the chief product officer at Facebook, where he helped to develop some of the social media giant’s most important features and initiatives, including Facebook Connect and the Open Graph protocol. He also co-founded the social network FriendFeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009. Taylor joined the board of Twitter in 2020 and has been a vocal advocate for the company’s vision and strategy. As of the time of Musk’s purchase, Brett Taylor’s shares were worth about $3 million.
Other minor shareholders at Twitter before the acquisition by Elon Musk include Parag Agrawal, the former CEO of Twitter, Ned Segal, the former CFO of Twitter, Vijaya Gadde, former head of legal policy, trust, and safety, Sarah Personette, the former chief customer officer, etc.
Top Institutional Twitter Shareholders Before Elon Musk Takeover
About 80% of Twitter shares before Elon Musk’s acquisition were owned by institutions, private firms, and investment funds. Twitter’s top institutional shareholders before the acquisition by Elon Musk include:
The Vanguard Group
Vanguard Group was an institutional shareholder of Twitter, meaning that they held shares of the company on behalf of their clients, who are primarily individual investors. Vanguard is one of the largest asset management companies in the world, with over $7 trillion in assets under management as of 2021.
As of the most recent filings available before the sale of Twitter to Elon Musk, Vanguard held approximately 10% of the outstanding shares of Twitter, making them one of the company’s largest institutional shareholders. Vanguard’s investment in Twitter was part of a broader strategy of diversification, as they manage portfolios for clients across a wide range of industries and asset classes.
As an institutional shareholder, Vanguard used to have some influence on Twitter’s decision-making processes, particularly when it came to matters related to corporate governance and shareholder rights. However, their primary responsibility was to act in the best interests of their clients and to manage their investments in a way that maximizes returns while minimizing risk.
Morgan Stanley Investment Management
Morgan Stanley is an investment bank and financial services company that was also an institutional shareholder of Twitter. They held shares of the company on behalf of their clients, which may have included both individual and institutional investors.
As of the most recent filings available before Musk’s acquisition, Morgan Stanley held approximately 8.5% of the outstanding shares of Twitter, making them the second-largest institutional shareholder of the company. As an investment bank, Morgan Stanley could also provide financial advisory services to Twitter and other companies in the technology industry, helping them to raise capital, manage risk, and navigate complex financial transactions.
While their holdings on Twitter gave them some influence over the company’s decision-making processes, their primary responsibility was to manage their clients’ investments in a way that maximizes returns while minimizing risk.
BlackRock is a global investment management company that was also an institutional shareholder of Twitter. They held Twitter shares on behalf of their clients, which may have included individual and institutional investors.
As of the most recent filings available before the completion of the acquisition deal, BlackRock held approximately 6.5% of the outstanding shares of Twitter, making them one of the largest institutional shareholders of the company. BlackRock is known for its active approach to investing, and they often engage with the companies they invest in on issues related to corporate governance, sustainability, and other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
As an institutional shareholder of Twitter, BlackRock had some influence over the company’s decision-making processes and strategy, particularly when it comes to matters related to ESG issues and other areas of concern for their clients. However, like other investment management companies, their primary responsibility was to manage their clients’ investments in a way that maximizes returns while minimizing risk.
State Street Corporation
State Street Corporation is an American financial services and bank holding company that was also an institutional shareholder of Twitter. They invested in and held Twitter shares on behalf of their clients, which may include both individual and institutional investors.
As of the most recent filings available, State Street held approximately 4.5% of the outstanding shares of Twitter, making them the fourth-largest institutional shareholder on Twitter. State Street is known for its global presence and expertise in investment management and custody services. They often provide these services to institutional investors, such as pension funds and endowments.
What does the future hold with Twitter under Elon Musk?
Despite the threats from many users of the social media platform to quit if Elon Musk ever became the owner, Twitter is still standing. Twitter’s stock ticker was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on November 8. Since then, Elon Musk has made a lot of changes to the social media service that has received both positive and negative reactions from the public. Here, we are going to examine some of the changes Twitter has undergone:
- Layoffs and mass resignation: Right from the day he stepped into Twitter headquarters as the “Chief Twit”, Elon Musk has been firing employees at Twitter. This started with the executive members of the old publicly-traded Twitter, but soon extended to regular members of staff. About half of Twitter’s workforce of 7,500 full-time employees was affected. Also, some employees that were not fired started to resign en masse as a result of Musk’s stringent rules or to register their displeasure;
- Account reinstatements: As part of Elon Musk’s free speech policy, he promised to do away with lifetime banning and reinstate accounts banned for minor or dubious reasons on the 27th of October 2022. True to his promise, about 60,000 accounts that have been previously banned for life have been restored, and the owners are tweeting again. According to Twitter safety, from February 1, 2023, anyone can appeal account suspension and get reinstated if they meet the requirements;
- Paid verification: Previously, verification badges were only given to notable accounts that met the requirement. However, Elon Musk changed the entire system of verification to ensure that anyone could have a blue badge next to their name, as long as they paid $8 monthly to Twitter. Musk’s plan to prevent impersonation is to ban accounts that engage in such acts permanently;
- View Counts: In the old publicly-owned Twitter, the number of times a tweet has been viewed can only be seen by the author of the tweet when they intentionally check their tweet analytics. However, under Elon Musk, the view counts of every tweet can be seen by every Twitter user;
- Bookmarks: The number of times a tweet has been bookmarked can now be seen by everyone whenever such a tweet is expanded;
- Curation of Timeline: Twitter users could only see tweets from people they follow or from other people that they have mutual interact with. However, every Twitter user’s timeline is now divided into 2: “For you” (Tweets recommended for the Twitter user) and “Following” (Strictly tweets from people an individual follows);
- Ban on remote work: Elon Musk put an end to Twitter’s work-from-home policy and declared that employees were expected to be in the office physically for at least 40 hours a week.
These and many more are the changes that Elon Musk has made to Twitter in the past couple of months since he became the CEO of the social media service. Elon Musk claims that Twitter’s finances are improving after making big cuts, and he is focused on turning a profit.
Despite being transformed from a publicly traded company to a privately owned company, Twitter is still one of the most influential social media services in the world. While its founder Jack Dorsey played a crucial role in shaping the company’s direction in its early years, subsequent changes in ownership do not seem to have slowed down the platform’s success. Twitter’s success can be attributed to its ability to adapt and evolve with the changing needs and preferences of its users. The social media service’s commitment to promoting free speech while combating fake news and misinformation has helped to reinforce its credibility and ensure its continued relevance in a rapidly-changing media landscape. Although Twitter might be facing some challenges under its new leadership, it is yet too early to predict its failure.