Days after Twitter announced that world’s richest man and tiresome internet troll Elon Musk would join the board of his favorite social-media company — to celebration in some corners and considerable backlash in others — the plan went up in smoke.
On Sunday evening, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted that Musk “has decided not to join our board” after all. But Agrawal’s statement did not answer the central question here, which is “why?”
Observers parsing Agrawal’s words noted the odd mention of Musk’s background check. Is it possible that one of the best-documented people on earth somehow didn’t pass one? Or maybe Twitter realized, too late, that expecting Musk to act in the “fiduciary interest” of the company — a requirement for being on its board — was a tad unrealistic. (Over the weekend, Musk was his usual troll-y self: He asked his followers if Twitter is “dying,” proposed that the company’s headquarters be converted into a homeless shelter, and made a standard extremely lame joke.)
But perhaps the most revealing part of Agrawal’s statement came when he wrote that Twitter would experience “distractions ahead.”
One of those “distractions” could be Musk attempting a hostile takeover of the entire company. The day after the board announcement last week, Musk disclosed that he had purchased 9.2 percent of Twitter for $2.9 billion, making him Twitter’s biggest shareholder. But one condition of his proposed board seat was that he would not be able to own more than 14.9 percent of the company’s common stock until his tenure expired in 2024. Now that the deal is off, Musk is free to become more aggressive in his efforts to influence and perhaps ultimately control the company.