Mercurial business tycoon Elon Musk has reached a deal with Twitter’s board to take over the company. The agreement between Musk and the board ends weeks of drama between Musk and the social media platform. Previously Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder, then accepted and rejected a seat on the board. Finally, the board agreed to the deal after Musk proved he had lined up financing. The deal is reportedly worth approximately $44 billion and will see Musk take the company private.
The terms of the deal involve Musk paying shareholders $54.20 in cash for each share they own. This represents a 38 percent premium over the price of the stock before Musk revealed he was the company’s biggest shareholder. The board unanimously approved the buyout after Musk announced he had acquired $46.5 billion in loans from Morgan Stanley and other banks. In a statement, Musk discussed his reasoning behind the purchase. “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.” He said he intends to make its algorithms open source and to move towards “authenticating all humans.”
The news is a bit awkward for Twitter’s management. In his previous effort to purchase the company he said he had no faith in the current team. Also, when Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal took over for Jack Dorsey, Musk tweeted a photoshop comparing the new CEO to Joseph Stalin. It seems like Agrawal’s days might be numbered, but no other layoffs have been announced yet. The company held an all-hands meeting after the news broke, with Agrawal answering the staff’s questions. It was announced that the board would dissolve in roughly six months, and control would rest firmly in Musk’s hands.
According to CNN, a big question the staff had at the all-hands was whether Musk would let former President Trump back onto the platform. Agrawal said that would be up to Elon. However, several hours after the news broke Trump stated he would not be going back to Twitter. He stated he has his own platform now, Truth Social. This is despite the fact that he has only posted one “truth” to it since it’s inception.
Across the Internet reactions were mixed about the news. This is mostly due to Musk’s unpredictable nature and his penchant for trolling people on the platform. As an example, recently he posted a comparison of Bill Gates and the “pregnant man” emoji with the caption, “in case u need to lose a boner fast.” It’s an odd way to act (and type) for someone with so many resources at his disposal, not to mention companies to run.
Still there’s no denying Musk’s success in his myriad ventures including Tesla and SpaceX. Musk himself seems to be aware of his ability to attract scorn, and he isn’t shying away from it. After the deal was announced he tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.” The news also provided superior meme-fodder, with one Twitter user quipping, “finally, elon will now own something that won’t kill people if it crashes.”