Trouble for Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal after Elon Musk stake buy? Cathie Wood sees potential for shakeup

Cathie Wood speculated that Elon Musk’s stake in Twitter might open the door to a management shakeup. That may spell trouble for Parag Agrawal.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 11:26 IST
elon musk
Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of investment firm Ark Invest, has almost 10% of her flagship fund's assets in Tesla Inc, which is owned by Elon Musk. (REUTERS)
elon musk
Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of investment firm Ark Invest, has almost 10% of her flagship fund's assets in Tesla Inc, which is owned by Elon Musk. (REUTERS)

Cathie Wood speculated that Elon Musk's new ownership stake in Twitter Inc. might open the door to a management shakeup at the social media company. Musk is sending a “strong signal” to Twitter chief executive officer Parag Agrawal, Wood, the founder and chief executive officer of Ark Investment Management LLC, said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. “This could be setting up for another leadership change,” she said. Agrawal replaced founder Jack Dorsey in November.

Wood, whose flagship fund has almost 10% of its assets in Tesla Inc., has not spoken to Musk about the carmaker's CEO taking a 9.2% stake in Twitter to become the platform's biggest shareholder, which was revealed Monday in a regulatory filing. The news came a week after Musk hinted he might attempt to shake up the social media industry. 

“I think he is sending a strong signal to the new CEO,” Wood said.

Wood's flagship investment fund, ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), tumbled 24% last year after surging almost 150% in 2020. The fund plunged another 30% in the first quarter, as investors soured on the richly valued growth stocks she targets.

In the wide-ranging interview, Wood reiterated her warning that aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve risked dangerously slowing the economy. A 50-basis point hike, which bond traders anticipate at the central bank's next meeting, would lead to a more severe inversion of the yield curve, Wood said.

Wood said last week the Fed raising interest rates as the yield curve inverts would be a mistake. The central bank seems to be “playing with fire,” she wrote on Twitter.

“We think the Fed hikes are priced into the market,” she said Monday. “If you look at the two-year treasury yield, you'll see most of those are priced in.” The rate on the two-year note, among the most sensitive to Fed policy plans, spiked almost 150 basis points in the first quarter.

The Nasdaq 100, home to technology and growth stocks, had plunged 20% into a bear market ahead of the Fed's March 16 rate hike. Wood said the announcement marked the bottom for many of her fund's top names. Zoom Video Communications Inc., Twilio Inc. and Roku Inc. -- all top 10 in the ARKK ETF -- have jumped at least 26% in the almost three weeks since. The Nasdaq is up 13% in that time.

Those companies had been in free fall as inflation surged to the highest in four decades, making it harder to justify lofty valuations for future profits. Wood said she saw a “buying opportunity” for her holdings, even at the expense of Tesla.

“When there are risk-off periods, traditional investors really diversify and sell our stocks as they move close to their benchmarks,” she said. “So it's a great buying opportunity for us -- I will say I can't believe how long that buying opportunity lasted.”

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First Published Date: 05 Apr, 11:30 IST