Twitter shares rise on reports of activist investor stake

Tech News

FILE – In this June 7, 2019, file photo, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leaves after his talk with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Twitter shares rose Monday, March 2, 2020, following reports an activist investor took a stake in the social media service and plans to push for changes. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 Septemberit 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 downin September.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.