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When Elon Musk buys into Twitter, I don’t need a little bird to tell me something’s afoot

By John Naughton

09 Apr 2022 · 3 min read

When the news broke last week that Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX and the world’s richest man, had paid $2.9bn (£2.3bn) for 9.2% of Twitter, the media world – old and new – briefly lost what might loosely be called its collective mind. What was Musk up to? (He’s always up to something, after all, even if it’s just trolling. And, with more than 80 million Twitter followers, he’s quite an effective troll.)

Since nobody knows what goes on inside Musk’s head, fevered speculation began. One camp thought that he had just done it “for the lulz” (fun, amusement, humour, schadenfreude). Indeed, if your net worth is $290bn, $2.9bn is effectively loose change. And it made him the biggest single shareholder in the company. Twitter then recognised the gravity of the situation and agreed to give him a seat on the board in a deal that supposedly prevents him from buying a majority stake in the business.

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