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Who owned Twitter before Elon Musk? Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal net worth - who currently has the most stock

If they are sacked or if Musk installs his own management team, Twitter’s executives will be rewarded handsomely

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has said that Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media network is “the right path” for his company.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has signed an agreement to acquire Twitter for $54.20 (£42.20) per share, or around $44 billion (£34.5 billion).

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Musk has stated that he believes the site needs to alter in order to grow and better encourage free speech.

But who owned Twitter before Musk? Who is Jack Dorsey, and just how much money do he and other executives stand to make from the multi-billion dollar deal?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who created Twitter?

In March 2006, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams founded Twitter, which launched in July of that year.

Dorsey, then a New York University undergraduate, introduced the concept of an individual using an SMS service to interact with a small group.

The service’s initial project code name was “twttr”, a disemvowelled variant of the word “twitter” inspired by the image hosting site Flickr and the five-character length of American SMS short codes.

Part of the reason for the choice was also that the domain twitter.com was already in use.

The company grew quickly; in 2007, it sent out 400,000 tweets each quarter, but by 2008, the number of tweets per quarter had reached 100 million.

Twitter users sent 50 million tweets per day on average in February 2010, and just a few months later, around 65 million tweets were sent per day in June 2010, equating to around 750 tweets sent every second.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Though the creation of Twitter was a team effort, Jack Dorsey is often credited with planting the first seeds of the idea, and served as the company’s CEO for two terms between 2006 and 2008, and 2015 to 2021.

At 45 years old, Dorsey has an estimated net worth of $600 million (£473 million).

He gave his blessing to the takeover in a series of tweets, hailing the decision to let Musk take the social media platform into private ownership and away from its current advertising-based model and Wall Street.

Who owned Twitter before Elon Musk?

Twitter is a publicly traded corporation that trades on the New York Stock Exchange, which means it is controlled by a number of different people.

Institutions, including private firms and investment funds, own about 80% of the stock.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management - Morgan Stanley's investment arm - the Vanguard Group, and BlackRock Fund Advisors are the main institutional owners.

Jack Dorsey holds the most individual shares, with 2.25%.

Who will run Twitter under Musk’s ownership?

SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2020 (Photo: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images)

While Musk will own Twitter outright, and will be able to make executive decisions on new features and how it should be run, it’s unlikely that he will play an active role in the day-to-day management of the site.

So who will be in charge at ground level?

Parag Agrawal currently leads Twitter, and has praised the deal, saying he was “deeply proud of” Twitter's achievements.

An Indian-American software engineer, Agrawal worked as a research intern at Microsoft Research and Yahoo! Research prior to joining Twitter in 2011.

Agrawal took over from Dorsey as CEO in November 2021, when Dorsey announced his resignation, to be replaced by Agrawal effective immediately.

Unlike his predecessor, Agrawal receives $1 million (£790,000) in annual salary as CEO, as well as $12.5 million (£9.9 million) in stock compensation.

But Musk stated in his offer document to Twitter's board of directors that he didn’t have “confidence” in the current management.

On Monday (25 April), Agrawal told employees that the company's future is uncertain, though he assured employees that there will be no layoffs.

"Once the deal closes, we don't know which direction the platform will go," he said, according to the Reuters news agency.

How much money will Dorsey and Agrawal make from the sale?

The transaction is expected to pay Dorsey £771 million (Photo: GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Twitter founder Dorsey is in line to receive $978 million (£771 million) from the deal.

Dorsey has long refused to accept a salary from Twitter, instead opting for a minimal $1.40 (£1.10) in annual compensation.

He does however hold 2.4% of the corporation, or 18,042,428 shares, which Musk will be purchasing for $54.20 (£42.74) each if the deal closes.

Other Twitter executives may receive hefty rewards if they are fired or if Musk appoints his own management team.

According to Twitter's newest proxy filing, Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal all have "Change in Control" clauses in their contracts.

The clause notably mentions Agrawal's reporting to the "board of directors of a publicly-traded entity," meaning any plan to take Twitter private would trigger it.

Agrawal would receive a $38.7 million (£30.5 million) pay package if Musk terminated their employment, while Segal would receive a $25.5 million (£20. million) deal.

According to the Twitter proxy, they would also have to comply with "non-solicitation, non-disparagement and confidentiality conditions."

Meanwhile, Twitter board chair Bret Taylor will be paid just over $3 million (£2.4 million) in cash, while former board chair Omid Kordestani will be paid $50.6 million (£39.9 million).

Will I make any money from the sale?

As it stands, Twitter is a publicly traded company, which means that some of NationalWorld’s readers may have invested in the company’s shares at some point.

But Musk plans to take the company private, meaning Twitter Inc would no longer belisted on stock exchanges, and its stock not available to be bought or sold publicly.

Musk said on Twitter that he would try to keep “as many shareholders in [a] privatised Twitter as allowed by law,” but what does it mean for you if you’ve already invested in the social media network’s stock?

At some point in the sale process, Twitter will propose a “tender offer” for a minimum of 20 days.

Essentially a public offer for shareholders to sell their stock at a specified price - in this example, $54.20 per share - the tender offer will represent the company’s desire to buy all outstanding shares.

The bulk of investors will then receive automatic payouts when the firm formally becomes private, which will be deposited into whichever account was used to purchase the stock.

With the tender offer of $54.20 in the works, many investors may be tempted to buy shares now (while they are still cheaper than that price) in the hopes of making a rapid profit.

Whether or not you should buy shares in a firm that may go private depends on your risk tolerance, and you should consider contacting a specialist who can help you assess the benefits and drawbacks.