Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion

Elon Musk reached a deal to buy Twitter for around $44 billion on Monday after a night of negotiations with the social media company’s 11-member board.

The deal, one of the largest leveraged buyouts by a publicly traded company, comes less than two weeks after Musk made his initial offer of around $54.20 per share, a premium of 38% compared to Twitter’s closing price on the last trading day before Musk. disclosed its 9% stake in the company – in an April 14 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Reports surfaced Monday morning that, despite initially adopting a “poison pill” defense against Musk’s unsolicited offer, Twitter’s board began seriously considering the proposal after Musk was able to secure commitments for $46.5 billion in funding including backing from Morgan Stanley and other institutions as well as $21 billion of its own equity. In addition to controlling Tesla Inc., Musk was already Twitter’s largest individual shareholder.

Read more: How Elon Musk built his fortune and became the world’s richest private citizen

Now the richest man in the world is about to make Twitter private. Shares of Twitter opened 4% higher on Monday at around $51 per share as the two sides reached an agreement. Musk said in a live TED interview on April 14 that he would try to retain as many shareholders as legally possible for a private company, which is typically 500. The company currently has more than 1,700 individual shareholders. and institutional.

Under the terms of the agreement, Twitter shareholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock they own upon closing of the proposed transaction, as set out in its initial offer. The company will become a private company as soon as the transaction is finalized.

Read more: Opinion: Elon Musk should have been arrested long before he came for Twitter

How Twitter will ultimately transform under Musk’s leadership remains unclear. But Tesla’s billionaire CEO has made some of his overall intentions for the company clear. Musk called himself a ‘free speech absolutist’ and hinted he would remove part of Twitter’s content moderation policies, which protect against hate speech, incitement to violence and harassment targeted, among others. Musk also pledged to introduce an edit button on Twitter and expressed a desire to make the site’s algorithm more transparent.

Hours before announcing his acquisition, Musk tweeted:

“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said of the deal. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spambots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has huge potential – I can’t wait to work with the company and the user community to unlock it.

Read more: “The idea exposes its naivety.” Twitter employees explain why Elon Musk is wrong about free speech

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.

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