Elon Musk has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share in a cash transaction that is valued at approximately $44 billion, Twitter Inc. announced Monday.
This stunning announcement comes weeks after Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, criticized Twitter’s dedication and adherence to the principle of free speech. Since then, he purchased a 9% stake in the company and received an invitation to join Twitter’s board before ultimately rejecting that offer.
On April 14, Musk made his “best and final offer” to purchase Twitter outright, paying a 54% premium over what the stock was valued at the time. Twitter has now taken the deal.
“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,” said Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair.
“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,” said Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.
When the purchase is completed, Twitter will become a privately held company wholly owned by Musk. This is an earth-shattering development in the world of news media, where Twitter has become the preferred communications platform of journalists and news makers.
Musk has leveled several criticisms against Twitter and suggested several new features he believes would add value to the social media platform. Among his suggestions are an edit button, a feature for long form tweets, a far less aggressive approach to content moderation than current Twitter rules allow for, and efforts to increase transparency in how Twitter’s algorithms work.
Twitter’s announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by those who agree with his position on free speech and who believe Twitter has unfairly enforced its rules against conservatives and others on the right.
Many who believe social media companies need to do more to censor misinformation, on the other hand, expressed dread at the prospect of Musk holding the keys to Twitter’s content moderation policies and threatened to leave the platform.
“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,” he added.
“Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 25, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. ET with additional information.