Twitter reaches deal to sell to Elon Musk for about $44 billion : NPR

Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, speaks on the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing “cyber rodeo” grand opening social gathering in Austin, Texas on April 7.

Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP through Getty Photos

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Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP through Getty Photos

Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, speaks on the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing “cyber rodeo” grand opening social gathering in Austin, Texas on April 7.

Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP through Getty Photos

Twitter has struck a take care of Elon Musk, handing the world’s richest man management of a social community that has far-reaching affect on politics and society.

Musk pays about $44 billion, or $54.20 a share, to take the social media firm non-public, in accordance with an announcement from Twitter.

The settlement comes lower than two weeks after Musk supplied to purchase Twitter, sending the corporate’s board and administration into disaster mode as they scrambled to determine whether or not Musk was critical and whether or not his provide pretty valued the corporate.

Musk has vowed to “unlock” Twitter’s potential by loosening what he sees as unfair restrictions on free speech.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital city sq. the place issues important to the way forward for humanity are debated,” he stated within the announcement Monday.

The maverick entrepreneur is a prolific person and outspoken critic of Twitter, the place he has greater than 83 million followers and repeatedly posts memes, boosts his firms Tesla and SpaceX, and squabbles with critics.

Musk started accumulating Twitter shares in January. On April 4, he revealed that he’d turn out to be the corporate’s greatest particular person shareholder. He started calling for modifications to the platform, together with loosening its guidelines over what customers are allowed to publish, banning bots that publish spam, and making its algorithm public.

Musk tweeted on Monday, earlier than the deal was introduced, “I hope that even my worst critics stay on Twitter, as a result of that’s what free speech means.”

However some observers say if Musk relaxes content material guidelines, Twitter might be overrun by misinformation and poisonous posts.

“A platform that moderated solely unlawful speech would rapidly be overcome by spam and rubbish,” stated Jameel Jaffer with the Knight First Modification Institute at Columbia College. “That sort of platform would not work for anybody, no matter their political opinions.”

Different consultants, together with Paul Barrett with NYU’s Stern Faculty for Enterprise and Human Rights, have comparable issues.

“With out vigorous content material moderation, the platform Musk seeks to personal could be swamped by spam, porn, anti-vaccination misinformation, QAnon conspiracies, and fraudulent campaigns to undermine the midterms and 2024 presidential election,” Barrett stated.

‘Poison tablet’ afforded Twitter extra time to think about provide

After accepting after which rejecting an invite to affix Twitter’s board, Musk dropped a brand new bombshell along with his unsolicited $54.20-a-share provide to purchase the entire firm and take it non-public.

However lack of particulars about how Musk would finance the deal left many doubting he was critical. Twitter’s board rapidly adopted a so-called “poison tablet,” which served primarily as a velocity bump, a method to decelerate Musk from buying extra shares within the public market, as firm management weighed the provide.

“The Board obtained some further time with the poison tablet however finally needed to get to the negotiation desk with Musk to get this deal accomplished because the clock struck midnight on Twitter’s historical past as a public firm,” stated Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Final week, Musk introduced he had lined up the cash to take Twitter non-public. In a regulatory submitting, he stated Morgan Stanley, Financial institution of America, and several other different banks promised to lend $25.5 billion, backed partially by a few of Musk’s Tesla shares, and that he would offer as much as $21 billion in money.

These particulars might have shifted the board’s view. Whereas Twitter’s inventory hit highs above $70 a share final yr, the corporate’s shares had fallen beneath $40 in latest months, amid lingering questions over its capacity to develop.

“The Twitter Board carried out a considerate and complete course of to evaluate Elon’s proposal with a deliberate concentrate on worth, certainty, and financing. The proposed transaction will ship a considerable money premium, and we imagine it’s the finest path ahead for Twitter’s stockholders,” stated Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Impartial Board Chair, in an announcement.

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