Twitter shares rise on reports of activist investor stake

Twitter shares rise on reports of activist investor stake

NEW YORK — Twitter shares rose Monday following reports an activist investor took a stake in the social media service and plans to push for changes.

Elliott Management Corp. has taken a $1 billion stake in the company, about 5%, and plans to nominate four directors to the board, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are confidential. The Wall Street Journal reported the plans on Saturday, also citing an unnamed person.

Twitter has lagged behind other tech powerhouses like Facebook and Google in terms of user growth and advertising revenue. CEO Jack Dorsey left the company to start payments company Square, but returned in 2015. Now he splits his time between Square and Twitter. Dorsey has also tweeted that he would spend three to six months in Africa this year, leading some to question who would be running Twitter.

Elliott has been in talks with Twitter’s board to discuss how the lack of a full-time CEO has affected high-level executive retention and product innovations, the people familiar with the matter said. Facebook and Snapchat have introduced new products and features that attract advertisers, while Twitter hasn’t changed its product much beyond raising its character count.

In February the company reported fourth-quarter user numbers that exceeded expectations, but profit still fell as expenses rose. Twitter and other social media companies have been spending more to step up efforts to remove misinformation, abuse, hate speech and spam.

Shares jumped $2.21, or nearly 7%, to $35.41 in afternoon trading Monday.

Founded in 1977 by Republican billionaire Paul Singer, Elliott has stakes in or owns a wide array of organizations including bookseller Barnes & Noble and soccer team AC Milan.

Elliott is known for pushing for changes at companies it invests in. In September it took a 1% stake in AT&T and advocated for selling assets and paying down debt. AT&T eventually agreed to look for more parts of its business to sell off and to add two new board members. Elliott also advocated for changes at eBay, and the CEO of that company, Devin Wenig, stepped down in September.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer city council gave initial approval for more mixed-use developments in Riverside Light Industrial Park. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More industrial landowners in Red Deer are pursuing mixed-use zoning

A third of Riverside Light could become a commercial/industrial district

Central Alberta man facing second-degree murder in connection with December death.
Advocate file photo
Central Alberta man facing second-degree murder in connection with December death

Maskwacis RCMP said female found dead in Ermineskin Cree Nation residence last December

Red Deer College has been working towards obtaining university status for a couple of years. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer College’s university status back in question

Red Deer College should be worried that its university dreams could be… Continue reading

The Mountain Cree Traditional Band headquarters in Mirror, Alta. has been the target of theft and vandalism. (Photo submitted)
Vandals strike: Artifacts worth $1M gone from central Alberta museum

AWNTB says not enough been done to deter crime in Mirror, Alta.

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Montreal Canadiens down Edmonton Oilers 3-1, sweep series

Montreal Canadiens down Edmonton Oilers 3-1, sweep series

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) loses the basketball as he tries to drive around Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein (33) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Lowry leads the way as Raptors down the Mavericks for their third straight win

Lowry leads the way as Raptors down the Mavericks for their third straight win

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal and assist paces Flames to 5-2 victory over Canucks

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal and assist paces Flames to 5-2 victory over Canucks

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 file photo Britain's Andy Murray reacts during a press conference following his first round loss to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. Former world number one Murray's participation at the upcoming Australian Open is in doubt after the Briton tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
Australian Open arrivals hit by 3 COVID-19 positive tests

Australian Open arrivals hit by 3 COVID-19 positive tests

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) scores on an empty net and takes a hit from Winnipeg Jets defenceman Neal Pionk (4) during third period of action in Toronto on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto Maple Leafs ride dominant second period to down Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Toronto Maple Leafs ride dominant second period to down Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Roman Sadovsky wins the Challenge, his only event of the figure skating season

Roman Sadovsky wins the Challenge, his only event of the figure skating season

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, speaks with International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)
IIHF pulls hockey worlds from Belarus, seeks new host

IIHF pulls hockey worlds from Belarus, seeks new host

Most Read