Business

Twitter shares take off as Elon Musk buys stake worth almost $3bn

Shares in social media giant Twitter have surged by a quarter after it was revealed that Tesla billionaire Elon Musk had bought a 9.2% stake.

A regulatory filing showed the tycoon had snapped up 73,486,938 Twitter shares.

The stake is worth $2.89bn (£2.2bn), based on Twitter’s closing price on Friday.

Musk is a frequent user of Twitter and has more than 80 million followers, but he has recently been critical of its approach to free speech and said he was giving “serious thought” to building a new social media platform.

Twitter, Facebook and Google apps
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Musk expressed interest last month in building his own social media platform

His own use of the platform has got him into trouble in the past.

Musk is locked in a legal battle to free himself from the constraints of a deal he made with US regulators in 2018. The agreement forces him to have his tweets about Tesla pre-approved by a lawyer to avoid breaking rules around the disclosure of market sensitive information.

Musk signed an agreement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after he claimed, in a tweet, that he had secured funding to take the company private at $420 (£325) a share.

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But the billionaire now argues that he was coerced into signing the agreement, officially known as a consent decree, due to “the SEC’s unrelenting regulatory pressure”, according to a court filing.

His legal team has accused the body of trying to curtail Musk’s right to free speech.

He was yet to comment on the reasons for taking the Twitter stake.

The platform’s share price was trading 25% up in pre-market deals.

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