After an extensive back-and-forth between executives and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Twitter has accepted Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the company. While the offer was originally under “review” by the executives to identify the “best course of action” for the company, Musk has now demonstrated that he possesses the funds and the Twitter board has sinced announced the deal, according to Reuters.
Musk is buying the company at $54.20 (£42.60) per share as a personal purchase, independent from Tesla and SpaceX.
"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," Bret Taylor, Twitter's Independent Board Chair, said in a statement.
"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," said Musk. "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. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."
The billionaire believes the company needed to become private and required “transformation” to become a platform for free speech.
"I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy," he wrote in a Twitter letter when it was revealed he had bought stock in the company earlier this month.
"However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company."
Musk reportedly met privately with several shareholders on Friday and sold his vision of the platform, the Wall Street Journal reports. He pitched to the shareholders via video calls, and reiterated that the board had a yes-or-no decision to make.
The extraordinary price Musk put forward made the deal difficult to refuse for Twitter executives. Share prices have skyrocketed in recent days, but a valuation of $54.20 per share represents a 38 percent premium over the price at closing on April 1, when Musk announced he was the largest Twitter shareholder, according to CNN Business. In the best interest of shareholders, it, therefore, became a tough argument against accepting the offer.
Founder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey posted a Twitter thread endorsing Musk as the next owner, and believes Musk's vision is the "right one".
While the deal progresses, speculation now circles exactly what changes Musk will make to Twitter. He generated hype around the addition of an edit button last month, while suggesting he would soften punishments for tweets that break Twitter terms of service, creating a platform catered to “free speech". The new model will also rely less on advertising and essentially allow users to pay for a verification tick by signing up to Twitter Blue.
This article has been updated since the confirmation Twitter has accepted Musk's offer.