Former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer builds 4pc Twitter stake

Twitter has a new fan in the former Microsoft boss and prominent Silicon Valley personality

The former chief executive of Microsoft and prominent Silicon Valley personality Steve Ballmer has bet on Twitter, building a 4pc stake in the social media company.

A tweet posted on Friday claimed that Mr Ballmer had purchased 4pc of Twitter shares in recent months, praising Twitter for its “good job” appointing Mr Dorsey as CEO and creating a “leaner, more focused” company.

However, questions surrounded whether Mr Ballmer had actually bought Twitter stock, or whether his social media profile’s had been the victim of a hacker’s attack.

The man who ran Microsoft from 2004 to 2014 later confirmed in an email to Bloomberg that he had indeed created a sizable position in Twitter, and that his messages on the social network had not been the result of foul play.

New-York listed shares in Twitter rose by more than 2pc from their previous close after Mr Ballmer announced that he had taken a position in the company.

Before the story was confirmed, LA Clippers owner Mr Ballmer tweeted at two individuals to stress that he had actually taken a stake in Twitter.

Twitter’s stock has had a busy couple of weeks around the official appointment of founder Jack Dorsey as chief executive while he continues to run another company (which then filed for IPO).

In a memo Mr Dorsey has announced that he will cut more than 300 jobs. And the company has hired an executive chairman and suffered a 10 minute outage in this short period.

At Twitter’s current $20bn market cap, a 4pc stake would be worth $800m. The tweet said the shares were acquired over the “past few months”, and over the last three months the stock has lost 18pc in value.

Co-founder Evan Williams is Twitter’s largest shareholder with 6.9pc of the stock, followed by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who holds a 5.2pc stake. Jack Dorsey owns slightly more than 3pc.

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