The deal, which will make the company private, closes a whirlwind period in which the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX became one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, was offered and refused a seat on his board and an offer to buy the company. , all in less than a month.
Under the terms of the deal, shareholders will receive $ 54.20 in cash for every Twitter share they own, in line with Musk’s original offering and scoring a 38% premium over the share price the day before Musk. reveal his stake in the company.
“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy and Twitter is the digital city square where vital issues for the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement Monday. “Twitter has enormous potential: I’m looking forward to working with the company and the user community to unlock it.”
The deal, unanimously approved by Twitter’s board of directors, is expected to end this year. It comes after Musk revealed last week that he made $ 46.5 billion in funding available to acquire the company, an apparent tipping point that forced Twitter’s board of directors to seriously consider the deal. The board met on Sunday to consider Musk’s offer.
“The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to evaluate Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty and funding,” said Twitter Independent Board Chairman Bret Taylor, calling the deal “the best path to take to Twitter shareholders. “
Shares of Twitter were up nearly 6% after the deal was announced, hovering around $ 51.84, just short of the offer price. The agreement is pending approval by shareholders and regulators.
In an internal message to employees obtained by CNN, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said he will hold an open meeting with Taylor on Monday afternoon to answer questions about the deal. “I know this is a significant change and you are probably working out what this means for you and for the future of Twitter,” he said.
What Musk means for Twitter
Musk is both a high-profile and controversial Twitter user. He has more than 83 million followers on the platform, which he has used over the years for everything from sharing memes and discussing his companies to insulting politicians, spreading misleading claims about Covid-19 and insulting community comments. transgender.
Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to strengthen free speech on the platform and work to “unlock” the “extraordinary potential” of Twitter.
In his statement Monday, Musk said he wanted to “make Twitter better than ever by improving the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spam bots and authenticating all humans.” Separately, he said in a tweet on Monday that he hopes that “even my worst critics will stay on Twitter, because that’s what free speech means.”
However, some industry insiders fear that Musk’s desire for free speech on Twitter may mean undoing some of the platform’s work to curb hate speech, disinformation, harassment and other harmful content. Others have wondered if Musk could restore former President Donald Trump’s account, which was removed early last year for violating Twitter’s policies against inciting violence following the Capitol uprising. Such a move could have significant consequences for the upcoming U.S. presidential election in 2024.
Although Twitter is smaller than some social media rivals, it has immense influence in the online and offline world because it is used by many politicians, public figures and journalists, and has sometimes acted as a model for other platforms on how to handle malicious content.
“Don’t let Twitter become a petri dish for hate speech or falsehoods that subvert our democracy,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, in a statement to Musk on Monday after the deal.
A new and uncertain was for Twitter
In the days following Musk’s initial offer, many who followed the company wondered if Twitter would try to find another buyer, especially after the company had put in place a poison pill to make it harder for Musk to acquire the company without the. his approval.
But CFRA senior equity analyst Angelo Zino said on Monday that the Twitter board, taking Musk’s offer more seriously, may stem “from the council’s awareness that an alternative offer from a ‘white knight’ might be difficult to deal with. find, especially following the decline in asset prices from social media companies in recent weeks / months ”.
It is unclear whether Agrawal, who took over as CEO from founder Jack Dorsey in November, will remain in first place after the acquisition. Musk previously tweeted a meme comparing Agrawal to former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Musk also stated in his offer letter to buy Twitter that he does not “have confidence in the management”.
The deal could, however, end nearly a decade of chaos in Twitter as a corporation, during which she crossed CEOs, confronted an activist investor, and struggled to spark growth and successfully monetize her. influential user base.
Agrawal said in Monday’s statement that “Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impact the world,” he added, “Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by work that has never been more important.”