Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down from the company’s board earlier this year, but he’s staying involved with the social platform following its takeover by Elon Musk.
Dorsey rolled over his more than 18 million shares in Twitter (a roughly 2.4% stake) into the new Musk-owned company as an equity investor, rather than receiving a cash payout, according to a Thursday securities filing.
The transfer means that Dorsey effectively contributed just under $1 billion to Musk’s $44 billion Twitter purchase. It also makes him one of the largest investors in the new company, behind Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Qatar’s Investment Authority.
The decision by Dorsey makes him one of the few stakeholders in Musk’s Twitter with ties to prior leadership. Almost immediately after taking over the company, Musk dissolved Twitter’s board of directors. Much of the company’s C-suite has also either been fired or resigned in recent days.
Dorsey and Musk have long had a billionaire bromance. In 2020, Dorsey called Musk at an employee conference and asked his advice about improving Twitter. Later that year, Musk defended Dorsey when he was facing pressure from an activist investor, saying on Twitter, “I support @Jack as Twitter CEO. He has a good ❤️.”
After the Telsa CEO initially agreed to buy Twitter in April, Dorsey tweeted that he doesn’t “believe anyone should own or run Twitter,” explaining that he believes it should be a public good. “Solving for the problem of it being a company, however, Elon is the singular solution I trust,” he added.
Dorsey stepped down as Twitter CEO last November and left its board of directors in May. He has publicly criticized the company’s former board, and has also privately questioned the company’s future.
In text messages with Musk in March, after the world’s richest man had built up a large stake in Twitter but before announcing it publicly, Dorsey said, “a new platform is needed. It can’t be a company. This is why I left.” Musk responded by asking what the platform should look like. Dorsey explained his view that it should be “an open source protocol” and not rely on “an advertising model,” as Twitter currently does.
Dorsey added that Twitter “should never have been a company,” saying, “that was the original sin,” according to the text messages, which were revealed last month in court filings.
“I think it’s worth both trying to move Twitter in a better direction and doing something new that’s decentralized,” Musk told Dorsey.
Dorsey earlier this month launched a beta test of a new, decentralized social media app called Bluesky that could eventually compete with Twitter. As of Oct. 20, the app had a wait list of more than 30,000 people, it said on Twitter.
In April, after Musk agreed to buy the company, Dorsey pledged his support for the takeover. “I appreciate you. This is the right and only path. I’ll continue to do whatever it takes to make it work,” the Twitter founder told Musk.
Dorsey has not publicly commented on Musk’s takeover since the deal closed last week.