How Twitter Pushed Stakeholders under the Bus

Lucian A. Bebchuk, Kobi Kastiel, Anna Toniolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study focusses on the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk. Our analysis indicates that when
negotiating the sale of their company to Musk, Twitter's leaders chose to disregard the interests
of the company's stakeholders and to focus exclusively on the interests of shareholders and the
corporate leaders themselves. In particular, Twitter's corporate leaders elected to push under
the bus the interests of company employees, as well as the mission statements and core values
to which Twitter had pledged allegiance for years.
Our analysis can inform the heated debates on corporate stakeholders and their treatment by
corporate leaders. Our findings indicate that, contrary to the predictions of the implicit promises
and team production theories of Coffee (1986), Shleifer-Summers (1988) and Blair-Stout (1999),
corporate leaders selling their company should not be expected to look after the interests of
stakeholders. In addition, rather than supporting the stakeholder governance, our findings also
support the agency critique of stakeholder governance (Bebchuk and Tallarita (2020)), which
stresses that corporate leaders have incentives not to serve stakeholders beyond what would
serve shareholder value. Finally, our findings are consistent with the view that corporate mission and purpose statements are mostly for show.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-335
Number of pages29
JournalStanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance
StatePublished - 2023


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