Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has added another company to the ones he controls as Twitter accepts his buyout proposal.
Twitter, the popular microblogging site, has changed ownership as Musk pays $44 billion for the company. That means he paid $54.20 per share, which was exactly what he offered initially. It was 38 percent more than the stock was trading on April 1, 2022, when Musk revealed he had bought 9 percent of the company.
He explained why he is making the transaction, “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 spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”
In his remarks, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said, “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.”
Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair, said, “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.”
The deal will be closed in 2022 after it has been approved by Twitter shareholders and met approval by regulatory bodies. The company’s Board will dissolve afterward.
Twitter will release its first-quarter results on April 28, with Wall Street predicting less than exciting performance. The company will not hold an investors call in the light of the impending buyout.
The acceptance of Musk’s offer brings to close weeks of drama as Twitter Board initially rejected the offer and took steps to make it difficult for the billionaire to take over the company. He was also offered a seat on the Board, which he turned down.
Just what Musk’s influence will change about Twitter is yet to be seen. However, he has been floating some ideas, including adding an edit button and turning the company’s head office into a shelter for the homeless. He has even suggested removing ads from Twitter Blue and reducing the subscription price. However, it is difficult to know when Musk is trolling or not.
Musk has often criticized Twitter for its content moderation policies. He has referred to himself as a free speech absolutist, so users are waiting to see the changes he will make in that aspect.
Meanwhile, Agrawal has assured Twitter staff that there are no plans for a layoff, even though he couldn’t provide concrete answers to many of the questions asked during a virtual hands-on meeting with employees. Agrawal admitted there are many uncertainties as to what would happen after the deal closes. “We don’t have all the answers. This is a period of uncertainty.”
Agrawal was also asked about former President Donald Trump, who was suspended indefinitely from Twitter early last year. The CEO said he didn’t know whether Trump would be allowed back on the platform. However, the former president has said he would not come back even with a new owner but would stick with his own Truth Social platform.