Here's WHY Jack Dorsey Retains His Billion-Dollar Share in Twitter; FIVE Key Points

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Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has rolled over his entire stake in Twitter after tech billionaire Elon Musk took the microblogging platform into private ownership by completing the complicated $44 billion deal last week. By choosing not to sell his 18 million shares in Twitter, Dorsey remains the third biggest shareholder in Twitter.

Dorsey's stake in Twitter was worth nearly $1 billion at the buyout price of $54.20. However, currently, Twitter share price is at $53.70.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and CEO of Twitter, speaks during an interview
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and CEO of Twitter, speaks during an interview. Reuters

The other big stakeholder in Twitter is Saudi Arabian businessman Alwaleed bin Talal, whose Kingdom Holdings has a 3.5 percent stake in Twitter following Musk takeover. Through Kingdom Holdings, the Saudi royal family too has a major stake in Twitter, as the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has more than 10 percent stake in bin Talal's holding company.

Why is Dorsey 'Rolling' With Musk?

Dorsey's decision to retain his stake in Twitter after Musk steamrollered the top executive of the company is surprising. Musk summarily fired Parag Agrawal, the CEO handpicked by Dorsey late last year, when he stepped down as the CEO of Twitter. Musk also removed a number of top executives and announced job cuts at the company. Musk has made it clear that he is intent on drastically changing the fundamental moorings of the platform and make it free-speech centered.

'Bromance' with Musk

Yet, Dorsey has chosen to roll over his shares in Twitter. While sacked CEO Agrawal was close to Dorsey, his sacking did not change the Twitter co-founder's decision to retain his shares in the Musk-controlled company.

Industry watchers are convinced that this is not a purely financial decision by Dorsey. Rather, the call was made on other substantive matters. One of the reasons given by the analysts is that Musk and Dorsey have long had a friendly relationship bordering on 'bromance'.

'Elon is Singular Solution'

Reports also said that Dorsey had also encouraged Musk to buy the platform, and had tried to bring Musk on the board of Twitter. Following Musk's announcement that he was taking over Twitter, Dorsey had tweeted: "Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness."

Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey Wikimedia Commons / Andrew Mager

Did Dorsey Facilitate Twitter Buyout by Musk?

Immediately after Musk's takeover announcement, Dorsey had said that taking the company private was the "correct" first step as it was "owned" by Wall Street.

Another theory is that Dorsey and Musk "may be deemed to have formed a group" for facilitating the buyout. However, Dorsey denied that both of them were working together on the buyout. Dorsey had invited Musk to a Twitter staff retreat in 2020, as a star guest speaker.

Dorsey had said that Musk's goal of "creating a platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is the right one".

Dorsey Had Serious Tensions With Twitter Board

There were serious tensions between Dorsey and the Twitter board in the run-up to the takeover bid by Musk in April 2022. The main points of conflict were on the philosophical moorings of the company and issues like content moderation. Dorsey's fight with activist fund Elliott Management was legendary. The fund, which had a seat on Twitter's board, was seen by Dorsey as a corrupting influence.

Industry watchers had concluded that Dorsey's apparent 'disengagement' with the Twitter board started after Elliott bought into Twitter in 2020 and took a seat on the board. The other prominent members on Twitter board included Salesforce chief executive Bret Taylor, tech entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, and former Google executive Patrick Pichette.

Disagreement Over Blocking Donald Trump

Another breaking point was the banning of former US President Donald Trump from the platform, according to some reports. A report by the Financial Times had mentioned that Dorsey was 'reluctant' to remove Trump from the platform. But he was apparently helpless as 'content moderation' at Twitter was hijacked by the over-politicization of the board.

This article was first published on November 1, 2022
Related topics : Elon musk