Elon Musk agrees $44bn Twitter takeover
Elon Musk has agreed a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, bringing an end to a running spat between the social media platform’s board and its biggest shareholder.
Musk initially bid for the company earlier this month but the Twitter board seemed poised to reject the offer, with speculation that the firm would use a poison pill strategy to keep the world’s richest man at bay.
However, Twitter tonight announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Musk, who will pay $54.20 per share in cash to take the company private.
Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair, said, “The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing. The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”
Musk, a prolific and often controversial user of Twitter, has promised to make significant changes to the platform after he became its largest shareholder by accumulating a 9.2% stake in the company. Earlier today, he tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
Musk – who has more than 83 million followers on the platform – has suggested several changes including the possibility of an edit button for tweets – which Twitter confirmed it was considering – and removing adverts from the platform’s premium service, Blue.
Another key concern, according to the Tesla and SpaceX boss, is free speech.
Announcing the takeover, he said: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Last week, reports revealed Musk had secured $46.5bn (£35.6bn) in financing to fund a possible hostile takeover, with the billionaire – worth around $265 billion – also putting up $21 billion of his own money for the deal. The funding commitments were outlined in a filing with the US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Twitter is one of the world’s biggest social media companies. The microblogging site – launched by Jack Dorsey Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in 2006 – has around 217 million users worldwide.
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