In the just ended decade, big names in digital media ownership included Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Page of Alphabet, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Jeff Bezos of Amazon. These among others in big-tech companies have shaped how information is organized and consumed around the world. They have also added impetus to conversations around data privacy, freedom of speech and e-commerce from their innovative applications such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Amazon that bring communities together. These companies have grown their shareholder’s equity majorly from advertisements and selling of data. Between 2011 and 2020, most of these companies were in their growth stages implementing subscription strategies and clearing barriers from governments to operate in different jurisdictions. From 2021, the oligopolistic big tech sector is witnessing change of strategies and business models from most of these companies. Facebook for instance rebranded to Meta in a bid to regain trust from the public on its commitment to uphold data protection laws and to offer better the experience of using its products.
Starting January 2022, a new kid has come to the block with a mission to democratize freedom of speech on social media and to make social media work for its users rather than for government policy makers and a few board members running the company. Elon Musk disclosed his 9% stake in twitter through a statutory filling with the US. Securities and Exchange Commission. This also implied that Elon Musk was the largest non-institutional shareholder of twitter and deserving a seat on twitters board. Musk however turned down an offer by twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal to join the board. Since the start of April 2022, Elon Musk has publicly engaged twitter users on how they want twitter to function. He thinks twitter should not only depend on income from advertisement but also innovate to earn revenue.
Elon Musk’s strategy to take over twitter from public listing to private ownership is timed and fueled by his wealth and influence in corporate governance. With immense success in Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Starlink and OpenAI, Elon Musk who is currently the world’s wealthiest person has attracted trust from leading lenders like Morgan Stanley Bank in purchasing twitter shares at premiums as high as 38%. His negotiation skills and mastery of organization politics has earn him credits in convincing twitter board to lift “poison pill” defense strategies from his hostile takeover plan of twitter.
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