Elon Musk Declines Invitation to Join Twitter's Board, Fueling Speculation of ''Game of Thrones ' Battle'

The billionaire, now Twitter's largest shareholder, has questioned the platform's policies

Elon Musk attends TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City.
Elon Musk. Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty

Is Elon Musk planning a hostile takeover of Twitter?

After the Tesla and SpaceX founder, 50, became the social media platform's largest shareholder with a 9.2% stake in the company, CEO Parag Agrawal announced Sunday that Musk declined an invitation to join their board.

"Here's what I can share about what happened," Agrawal, 37, wrote in an email to Twitter employees, which he also shared in a tweet. "The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat."

"We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance," Agrawal added. "Elon's appointment to the board was to become officially effective [Saturday], but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input."

"There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged," he continued. "The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no one else's. Let's tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we're building."

The agreement Musk would have had to make in order to secure a board seat stipulated that he couldn't accrue more than 14.9% of Twitter's shares, according to Forbes, CNBC and NPR. Since he's declined the invitation, Musk can now purchase as much stock as he wants, potentially making the company vulnerable to a takeover.

"This now goes from a Cinderella story with Musk joining the Twitter board to likely a Game of Thrones battle between Musk and Twitter," said Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst who covers Musk's electric car company Tesla, according to Forbes.

Though Musk is the richest person in the world with a net worth of $262.6 billion as of Monday, according to Forbes, the outlet pointed out that most of his money is in Tesla shares and he'd "likely want to team up with a private equity firm or some other financier" in order to launch a takeover effort.

A rep for Musk did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

Speculation of a takeover comes after Musk made suggestions for the company in a series of since-deleted tweets over the weekend. Among his ideas: a revamp of their new subscription product Twitter Blue and eliminating ads, according to CNBC. Musk has also questioned the platform's free-speech practices.

"Is Twitter dying?" Musk asked in a Saturday tweet that remained on his page Monday afternoon.

The post pointed out how some of the platform's most-followed accounts "tweet rarely and post very little content."

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God-Is Rivera, Twitter's global director of culture and community, disagreed with Musk in a reply.

"Come on now, it is not," she wrote.

"It's about rethinking how one defines 'top,'" Rivera added. "As a frequent tweeter you should know that follower count isn't always king. People who push conversations forward, build equity within communities, & offer unique perspectives are what make this app vibrant."

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