Elon Musk speaks at a press conference at Starbase SpaceX near the village of Boca Chica in South Texas on February 10, 2022.

Jim Watson AFP | Getty Images

Outspoken CEO Elon Musk acquired a giant stake in Twitter, making him the largest external shareholder in social media shares, shortly after criticizing the company for failing to uphold the principles of free speech.

Musk owns 73,486,938 shares of Twitter, which is a 9.2% passive stake in the company, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission 13G, released on Monday. The stake is worth $ 2.89 billion, according to the closing price of Twitter on Friday.

Musk’s purchase came less than two weeks after Musk criticized the company, asking people on Twitter whether Twitter adheres to the principles of free speech. “Given that Twitter is a de facto public city square, non-compliance with the principles of freedom of speech fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk tweeted. – What to do?

Although it is classified as a passive share, investors have offered higher rates so that it could lead to something bigger. On the premarket, Twitter shares rose more than 25%.

“Musk may try to take a more aggressive stance here on Twitter,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday. “It could end up leading to some kind of ransom.”

“It makes sense given what Musk was talking about, at least in terms of social media,” Ives said.

Musk is a frequent Twitter user and has over 80 million subscribers on the platform. However, some of his tweets over the years have dragged Tesla’s head into hot water.

On August 7, 2018, Musk tweeted that he had “secured funding” to make Tesla private at $ 420 per share. 12 months after that tweet were roller coasters for shareholders Mask and Tesla. At the time, the company set performance records but also had to deal with litigation, government requests and layoffs. Musk also reached an agreement with the SEC that stripped him of his chairmanship at Tesla.

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