Following Elon Musk's dramatic courtship of the influential social network, Twitter announced on Monday that it had entered into an agreement to be acquired by Musk for $54.20 per share. The transaction, valued at approximately $44 billion, will result in Twitter becoming a privately held company.
Initially rebuffed by Twitter's board of directors, Musk secured $25.5 billion of fully committed debt and margin loan financing and provided a $21 billion equity commitment to ensure the agreement. With the finalization of the deal, the world's richest man will have control of a social media company that has a far-reaching influence on politics and society.
"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," Musk said in Monday's announcement, according to NPR.
Twitter reaches deal to sell to Elon Musk for about $44 billion (Shannon Bond & Bobby Allyn - NPR)
During a TED interview shortly after announcing his bid, he expanded on some of his plans. "Well, I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech," Musk said. "Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s just really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law."
"Critics of Musk’s plan have expressed concerns that he would allow extremist content on the site, which Twitter and other social media companies struggle to fully eradicate," writes Rachel Lerman for The Washington Post. Musk acknowledged that content moderation is not a clear-cut issue, saying Twitter should be "very cautious with permanent bans," adding that he thought timeouts were better.
Why did Elon Musk buy Twitter? (Rachel Lerman - The Washington Post)
However, by Wednesday, controversy was already brewing as Musk criticized two Twitter employees, despite a promise from the entrepreneur not to “disparage” the company or its representatives while he completes the deal to acquire the social media platform, according to The Guardian. Musk apparently ignored the restrictions in a 95-page agreement covering his acquisition of the company when he responded to tweets from two political commentators who criticized Twitter staff.
Controversy grows after Musk engages with tweets criticizing Twitter staff (Dan Milmo - The Guardian)