Twitter announced on Monday that the social media giant will be acquired by billionaire SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an agreement worth roughly $44 billion. After the transaction is completed, Twitter will be converted into a private company.
The deal, which values Twitter stock at $54.20 per share, was unanimously approved by the Twitter Board of Directors and will likely close in 2022.
“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,” Musk said in a statement. “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.”
Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair, said in a statement that selling the company to Musk “is the best path forward” for its shareholders.
“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,” he wrote.
Twitter CEO wrote that Twitter “has a purpose” that is felt on a global scale.
“Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important,” Agrawal tweeted.
In response to a question on the sale of Twitter and the possible reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s banned account, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has “long been concerned” about social media’s power.
“No matter who owns or runs Twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms, the power they have over our everyday lives. He’s long argued that tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause.”
Early Monday, Musk reiterated his dedication to making Twitter a genuine free speech platform.
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk tweeted.
Two weeks ago, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud said he would reject Musk’s $43 billion offer because it doesn’t “come close to the intrinsic value” of the social media company. Musk shot back at the Middle Eastern billionaire by questioning how he views freedom of speech.
“I don’t believe that the proposed offer by @elonmusk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of @Twitter given its growth prospects,” Al Saud tweeted. “Being one of the largest & long-term shareholders of Twitter, @Kingdom_KHC & I reject this offer.”
Musk replied, “Interesting. Just two questions, if I may. How much of Twitter does the Kingdom own, directly & indirectly? What are the Kingdom’s views on journalistic freedom of speech?”