Twitter stock rose by 7.7 percent this morning following reports that an activist investor in the company, Elliott Management, is looking to make deep changes to the company. Apparently other stockholders are enticed by the investor’s ideas for evolution at Twitter. At the top of the investor’s list of changes: booting Jack Dorsey as CEO.
We could be on the brink of seeing some major shake-ups over at Twitter. The rising stock price is likely an indicator that others will stand behind Elliott Management in its endeavors to change Twitter for the better.
Dorsey is kind of MIA — Elliott Management’s biggest qualm with the way Twitter is being run right now is that CEO Jack Dorsey is currently dividing his time between running Twitter and his other major company, Square Inc. Dorsey’s decision to spend up to six months in Africa — just sort of hanging out, it seems — has been very disappointing to shareholders as well. It’s no surprise Twitter’s investors are looking for ways to change the way the company is run.
Public opinion of Twitter has been low lately as well. In a recent poll, The Verge found Twitter to be the most-unliked of the big social media companies. Only 33 percent of respondents said they’d be disappointed if Twitter disappeared altogether.
The investors in question are powerful — Leading the charge against Twitter’s current management is Paul Singer, the CEO of Elliott. He’s built up a large stake in Twitter over the years. Singer has previously been called “The World’s Most Feared Investor” by Bloomberg and, if reports are to be believed, he could pose a serious threat to Dorsey’s control of Twitter.
Coincidentally enough, Singer has donated more than a million dollars to Donald Trump’s inauguration fund. That allegiance could prove problematic for a company that controls such a large portion of the world’s online political discourse.
Talks have been ‘productive’ — According to sources familiar with the matter, Twitter’s board met with Elliott Management for the first time last week. The talks have been called ‘productive,’ and those involved say it’s likely it will branch into other conversations in the future. Elliott has taken a stake of more than $1 billion in Twitter, which means its opinions on the company’s management will be heard. Singer has already nominated four new directors to Twitter’s board.
Twitter has a reputation for taking its sweet time with changes to the company and to its site. But if the company’s investors have anything to say about it, Twitter will need to stop dragging its feet sooner rather than later.