Twitter said Monday that it has agreed to sell itself to Elon Musk for $44 billion in a transaction that may extend the billionaire’s corporate empire and put him in command of one of the world’s most popular social networks. In less than a month, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO became one of Twitter’s top owners, was offered and declined a seat on its board, and made a bid to acquire the firm.
Upon the announcement, the stock ended the day up 5.64%. Shareholders would get $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter stock they own under the agreement’s tems, which matches Musk’s original offer and represents a 38% premium over the stock price the day before Musk declared his stake in the firm.
What more does this deal mean, and what should shareholders keep in mind? Get the full story below:
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Released alongside the $44 billion sale announcement, Musk said in a statement, “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.”
If the purchase goes through and Musk becomes Twitter’s official owner, the firm would be run by the world’s richest man and someone who has been a vocal critic of the network while also using it in legally questionable ways, most notably through sensitive remarks about his car company, Tesla.
Though Musk has stated that his primary concern with Twitter is the company’s censorship of free speech, critics fear that the billionaire’s control of the platform would then lead to the censuring of their voices and those with whom he may disagree, given that he already has a track record of frequently banning critics from his account.
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Musk is interested in Twitter since he uses it frequently himself. He utilizes the platform to share jokes, interact with his 83.6 million followers, and announce corporate developments. He’s gotten himself into some difficulties because of the latter. After tweeting in 2018 that he had secured funds for $420 per share to take Tesla private, he was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of those tweets, the SEC accused Musk of securities fraud. In 2019, Musk and Tesla signed a new settlement deal over the costs, which Musk is now attempting to cancel.
Musk discussed how he wants the platform to develop under his ownership at the TED2022 conference. “I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” he stated at the time, acknowledging that some content control would be required to deal with explicit incitement to violence and ensuring the site adhered to local laws. He also stated that he prefers “time-outs” to permanent bans, implying that perhaps former President Donald Trump could even return under Musk’s management.
It’s unclear if Parag Agrawal, who succeeded founder Jack Dorsey as CEO in November, would stay on following the buyout. Musk, being a controversial Twitter user himself, once compared Agrawal to former Soviet despot Joseph Stalin in a tweet. In his offer letter to acquire Twitter, Musk also stated that he “does not have confidence in management.”
The sale, on the other hand, might bring an end to over a decade of turmoil at Twitter as a public business, during which the firm has gone through several CEOs, battled an activist investor, and struggled to ignite growth and properly monetize its essential user base. “Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world,” Agrawal said in a Monday statement. He said he’s “deeply proud of our teams and inspired by work that has never been more important.”
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