On Monday, Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover offer, which will give the world’s richest man control of the social network where he is also among the most influential users. Mr. Musk, whose net worth is $268 billion according to Forbes, aims to make Twitter private as part of the deal.
If completed, the acquisition would be one of the largest in the history of technology and is likely to have global implications for many years to come. The takeover will probably significantly shape the way billions of people use social media in general. There have been no comments yet on whether Mr. Musk is planning to transform the platform to be a subscription-based model or not. Elon Musk promised to enhance Twitter by introducing new features and emphasized his call for a softening of Twitter’s stance on content moderation.
In his announcement, Elon Musk wrote “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 spambots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
The transaction, which was unanimously approved by Twitter’s board of directors, is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter’s shareholders, the receipt of the relevant regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. Elon Musk has secured $25.5 billion of fully committed debt and margin financing and is providing an equity commitment of approximately $21.0 billion. There are no financing conditions to the closing of the transaction.
The deal marks the close of a story in which things were not always so smooth as Mr. Musk’s goal created controversy. It began on April 4, when Mr. Musk purchased more than 9% of Twitter stocks, making him Twitter’s largest shareholder. Initially, many executives and board members opposed Mr. Musk’s approach to the takeover. Employees have expressed mixed feelings regarding the sealed deal.
“If you’re wondering what Twitter employees think, I can only speak for myself: It’s a time of genuine discomfort & uncertainty.
Most of us believe deeply that Twitter is much more than a tech platform; we have a deep responsibility to society. I hope our new owner gets that,” Edward Perez, director of product management for societal health at Twitter, said in a tweet.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, expressed his support for Mr. Musk’s “goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive.”
He wrote “In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter,” Mr. Dorsey wrote. “It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving the problem of it being a company, however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.”
Twitter stock price rose 5.7% on Monday, closing at $51.70. The deal represents a nearly 40% premium to the closing price the day before Musk revealed he bought a stake of more than 9 percent.