Top 5 Twitter Shareholders

Institutional investors dominated the list of Twitter's top shareholders until April 2022, when Tesla (TSLA) Chief Executive Elon Musk disclosed he had accumulated a 9% stake in the social media company. Musk's purchase briefly made him Twitter's largest shareholder—at least according to public sources—until mutual fund giant The Vanguard Group disclosed in a filing with the SEC that its funds held 82.4 million shares, accounting for 10.3% of Twitter's common stock, as of March 31, 2022.

Twitter, which operates the global messaging platform, was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. Twitter developer Glass had previously created a venture called Odeo, a failed pioneer in podcasting. He teamed up with the other three to build Twitter from the ashes of that venture.

Key Takeaways

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk accumulated a 9.2% stake in Twitter in April 2022, making him the second-largest shareholder behind Vanguard.
  • The other top shareholders of the social media company were asset managers Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, and State Street.
  • Collectively, the top five Twitter shareholders own more than 37% of the company.

Twitter Numbers

Twitter was, and is, distinguished from its competitors by the messaging brevity it enforces. Platform posts, known as tweets, are currently limited to 280 characters.

Twitter's messaging platform had about 217 million daily active users as of Dec. 31, 2021, up 13% from a year earlier. The company generated $1.57 billion in revenue during Q4 2021—a 22% increase from the same quarter in 2020.

The company generates revenue primarily through advertising. Co-founder Dorsey served as CEO of Twitter from 2015 to 2021.

Below, we'll look at the top five shareholders of Twitter based on the number of shares owned. Notably, Dorsey is not on this list, although he owns a 9.4% stake in mobile payments company Block Inc. (SQ), which he founded as Square and now leads as CEO.

1. The Vanguard Group, Inc.

Vanguard Group holds the largest stake in Twitter. One of the biggest investment managers globally, Vanguard offers hundreds of mutual funds, ETFs, and retirement products. The company had about $8.1 trillion in assets under management as of Jan. 31, 2022.

Vanguard funds owned about 82.4 million Twitter shares representing 10.3% of shares outstanding as of March 31, 2022. The Vanguard Communications Services ETF (VOX) and the Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG) are among the group funds holding Twitter shares.

2. Elon Musk

Musk, a frequent Twitter user, disclosed on April 4, 2022, that he held 73.5 million Twitter shares, representing a 9.2% stake in the company. At the time, this made him Twitter's largest shareholder. The disclosure filing indicated it was triggered by an event on March 14, 2022. Investors are required to file an ownership disclosure within 10 days of acquiring a stake of 5% or more in a publicly-traded company.

Musk originally filed Schedule 13G as a passive investor, defined as a shareholder who does not intend to exert control of the company, but on April 5, Twitter named Musk to its board and he submitted Schedule 13D to reclassify himself as an active investor. This filing also revealed that Musk had trimmed his holdings to 73.1 million shares, a 9.1% stake. Less than a week later, on April 10, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Musk had decided not to join the board.

On April 25, 2022, Twitter announced it accepted Musk's tender offer to purchase all outstanding common stock for $54.20 a share, valuing the company at approximately $44 billion.

3. Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (MS), an investment bank and asset manager, holds the third-largest stake in Twitter with about 67 million shares, 8.4% of the total outstanding as of year-end 2021. Morgan Stanley had $6.5 trillion in client assets as of the same date, after acquiring online brokerage E*TRADE in 2020 and mutual fund manager Eaton Vance in 2021. In addition to investment banking and asset management, the firm provides trading services and investment research.

4. BlackRock Inc.

Global investment manager BlackRock Inc. (BLK) owned 52.1 million shares of Twitter in its many exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles as of year-end 2021, representing a 6.5% stake.

BlackRock had $10 trillion in assets under management as of the end of 2021. The firm issues the popular iShares ETF line. The iShares Evolved U.S. Media and Entertainment ETF (IEME) is among the BlackRock funds with Twitter holdings.

5. State Street Corp.

Institutional investment services provider State Street Corp. (STT), which operates the SPDR exchange-traded funds as State Street Global Advisors, held 36.4 million Twitter shares in its funds as of year-end 2021, representing a 4.5% stake in the company.

State Street offers a broad array of investment management services, including securities custody services for institutional clients. The firm held $4.1 trillion in investment assets under management as of Q4 2021.

CORRECTION—April 28, 2022: A previous version of this article misstated the identity of the largest shareholder of Twitter.

Article Sources
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  19. iShares. "iShares Evolved U.S. Media and Entertainment ETF."

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