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Republicans PRAISE Elon Musk for ‘stepping up’ to Big Tech by buying a stake in Twitter

Elon Musk’s decision to snap up a 9.2 percent stake in his favorite social media platform, Twitter, is already paying off after the company’s share price soared more than 27% on the news Monday – making the already ultra-wealthy Musk an additional 1.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The March 14 acquisition, made public Monday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, makes Musk Twitter‘s largest shareholder – but questions remain about how much power the minority stake will give the Tesla CEO over Twitter’s day-to-day decision making. 

He has criticized the platform in the past for stifling free speech – and been admonished for his own Twitter posts by regulators. 

Minority stake or not, some experts expect Musk to use his block of shares to influence the company towards a open model with fewer content moderation measures. 

“Specifically, Musk could seek to influence the openness of the platform and how it controls content or push to invest in the subscription model more aggressively,” Ali Mogharabi, an analyst for financial services firm Morningstar, said in an investors note on Monday. 

Republican lawmakers are already praising Musk for for protecting ‘free speech’ following the news.

 Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), who co-founded the Freedom From Big Tech Caucus, lauded Musk but said his purchase was a warning about the social media giant’s ‘power.’

‘The fact that the world’s richest man chose to outright buy Twitter rather than develop a new platform shows Twitter’s monopoly power,’ Gooden told DailyMail.com.

‘I’m glad Elon Musk is stepping up to protect free speech, but Congress must act to put the rest of big tech in their place.’

Numerous GOP lawmakers have accused Twitter of ‘censorship’ including ‘shadow banning,’ which supposedly restricts a user’s reach without their knowledge or appearing to do so.

Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) posted on Monday, ‘If [Elon Musk] can clean up Twitter and stop online censorship, I’m all for him taking over the whole damn thing.’

Twitter shares soared 27% Monday after it was disclosed Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased a 9.2% stake in the company

Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Banks was among the first elected officials to praise Musk's purchase

Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Banks was among the first elected officials to praise Musk’s purchase

Pro-Trump Rep. Lauren Boebert demanded that Musk use his money invested in the company to push for a reversal of Donald Trump's permanent suspension

Pro-Trump Rep. Lauren Boebert demanded that Musk use his money invested in the company to push for a reversal of Donald Trump’s permanent suspension

Another Trump ally, former Treasury Department official Monica Crowley, also sounded off

Another Trump ally, former Treasury Department official Monica Crowley, also sounded off

Anger at the platform spilled over when it permanently suspended Donald Trump’s account early last year following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Some Republicans now hope Musk will have enough sway to get the ex-president back on.

‘Now that [Elon Musk] is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift the political censorship. Oh… and BRING BACK TRUMP!’ outspoken pro-Trump Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) wrote on the site.

Former Trump Treasury Department official Monica Crowley said, ‘He should demand the end of political censorship, company-wide reform, and the reinstatement of President Trump.’ 

Musk, who has described himself as a political moderate, has butted heads with the Biden administration in the past and has not shied away from criticizing — and even mocking — President Joe Biden.

Rep. Lance Gooden

Rep. Jim Banks

Rep. Lance Gooden (left) told DailyMail.com: ‘I’m glad Elon Musk is stepping up to protect free speech, but Congress must act to put the rest of big tech in their place’

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked during her Monday press briefing if the billionaire’s history with Biden would force the administration to recalibrate its digital strategy, which has so far relied heavily on Twitter. 

‘I expect we will continue to use Twitter, as you all will as well, I would expect,’ Psaki answered while declining to comment on Musk’s ownership specifically.

The world’s richest man worth an estimated $273billion bought nearly 73.5 million shares, a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows.

It means the Tesla co-founder has more than quadruple the shares of Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey, who owns 2.25 percent.

His passive stake in the company is valued at up to $2.9billion based on the stock’s Friday close, and the estimated cost of the deal was $2.4billion, according to the stock price on March 14 when he bought the shares.

The news prompted Twitter’s stock to soar by more than 26 percent in pre-market trade before Wall Street opened on Monday, meaning his shares are now worth around $3.6billion, earning him an interested $1.2billion in three weeks. 

Elon Musk has become Twitter’s largest shareholder, with a 9.2 per cent stake in the social media company

The news prompted Twitter's stock to soar by more than 26 per cent in pre-market trade before Wall Street opened on Monday

The news prompted Twitter’s stock to soar by more than 26 per cent in pre-market trade before Wall Street opened on Monday

The world's richest man bought nearly 73.5 million shares, a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows

The world’s richest man bought nearly 73.5 million shares, a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows

Shares of other social media firms, including Meta Platforms and Snapchat owner Snap Inc, were also trading higher. 

Musk’s stake in Twitter is considered a passive investment, which means he is a long-term investor that’s looking to minimize his buying and selling of the shares.

‘We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,’ Dan Ives of WedBush Securities wrote in a client note early Monday. 

Twitter's share price has rocketed since Musk's investment on March 14

Twitter’s share price has rocketed since Musk’s investment on March 14

Passive investment is a strategy for slowly building wealth by long-term ownership of stocks rather than engaging in frequent trading, which is often accompanies by additional fees and can be more volatile. 

Ives also told CNBC: ‘Musk could try to take a more aggressive stance here on Twitter. 

‘This eventually could lead to some sort of buyout. 

‘This makes sense given what Musk has at least been talking about, at least from a social media perspective.’  

The shares are held by the Elon Musk Revocable Trust, of which he is the sole trustee. 

On the same day as the filing of the SEC document, Musk challenged Vladimir Putin to a fight on Twitter and posted a meme about supporting current trends.  

The mogul has been raising questions about the ability to communicate freely on Twitter, tweeting last month about free speech and the social media platform.

On the same day as the filing of the SEC document, Musk challenged Vladimir Putin to a fight on Twitter

On the same day as the filing of the SEC document, Musk challenged Vladimir Putin to a fight on Twitter

The mogul has been raising questions about the ability to communicate freely on Twitter, and on March 26 he asked what should be done about Twitter's free speech principles and if a new platform is needed

The mogul has been raising questions about the ability to communicate freely on Twitter, and on March 26 he asked what should be done about Twitter’s free speech principles and if a new platform is needed

A day earlier, he made a poll asking whether Twitter adheres to the principle of free speech, warning the results will be 'important'

A day earlier, he made a poll asking whether Twitter adheres to the principle of free speech, warning the results will be ‘important’

‘Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?’ he tweeted.

He accompanied it with a poll on March 25, with 70 per cent of two million users responding that the platform does not adhere to free speech.

Musk said: ‘The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.’

In a separate tweet, Musk said that he was ‘giving serious thought’ to creating a new social media platform.

Musk was responding to a Twitter user’s question on whether he would consider building a social media platform consisting of an open source algorithm and one that would prioritize free speech and where propaganda was minimal. 

Also last month, Musk asked a federal judge to nullify a subpoena from securities regulators and throw out a 2018 court agreement in which Musk had to have someone pre-approve his posts on Twitter. 

US securities regulators said they had legal authority to subpoena Tesla and Musk about his tweets, and that Musk’s move to throw out a 2018 court agreement that his tweets be pre-approved is not valid.

The entrepreneur is a frequent user of Twitter although his posts have occasionally landed him in hot water.

He has over 80 million followers on the site since joining in 2009 and has used the platform to make several announcements, including teasing a go-private deal for Tesla that landed him in regulatory scrutiny.

It means the Tesla co-founder has more than quadruple the shares of Twitter's founder Jack Dorsey (pictured), who owns 2.25 per cent

It means the Tesla co-founder has more than quadruple the shares of Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey (pictured), who owns 2.25 per cent

In 2018, the tech CEO was slammed after calling a British diver who helped rescue a group of Thai boys stuck in a cave a ‘pedo’. 

His Twitter posting has also led to accusations of stock manipulation, regularly sharing polls and information about his companies online. 

In August 2018, he wrote that he was ‘considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,’ a nod to Musk’s well-known interest in marijuana. 

The issue was, he didn’t actually have funding secured – but the stock price soared at the time, and it was later revealed that Musk apparently wrote the tweet because he ‘thought his girlfriend would “find it funny.”‘ 

He later tweeted how ‘high’ the stock had gone later in 2019 when it did, in fact, hit $420 a share.

Musk’s revelation about his stake in Twitter shares comes two days after Tesla Inc. posted lackluster first-quarter production numbers. 

While the company delivered 310,000 vehicles in the period, the figure was slightly below expectations. 

Musk has been selling his stake in Tesla since November, when he said he would offload 10 per cent of his holding in the electric-car maker. He has already sold $16.4 billion worth of shares since then.

Twitter was the target of activist investor Elliott Management Corp in 2020, when the hedge fund argued its then-boss and co-founder, Jack Dorsey, was paying too little attention to Twitter while also running Square.  

Musk and Dorsey have had some common ground in terms of dismissing the so-called Web3, a vague term for a utopian version of the internet that is decentralized.

Musk is also the founder and CEO of SpaceX, and leads brain-chip startup Neuralink and infrastructure firm The Boring Company.

Dorsey resigned as Twitter CEO in November after 15 years at the helm.

He remains remains the CEO of Square Inc, the hugely successful financial payments company that he co-founded in 2010, and is the sixth largest shareholder in Twitter.

Republicans PRAISE Elon Musk for ‘stepping up’ to Big Tech by buying a stake in Twitter Source link Republicans PRAISE Elon Musk for ‘stepping up’ to Big Tech by buying a stake in Twitter

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