Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and CEO of the leading electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla, has inked a deal to buy Twitter Inc, for $44 billion.
This follows weeks of intense negotiations that accelerated over the weekend after Musk allured Twitter shareholders with favourable monetary compensation and finally settled on his proposed bid of $54.20 per share price.
The takeover by the wealthy investor makes Twitter a privately owned company and could change its public outlook going forward.
Musk has been an influential Twitter user with a huge following of over 80-million users and has long expressed interest in purchasing the company or building his own social media platform.
“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 a statement.
Musk’s purchase of the 16-year-old micro-blogging platform is one of the largest takeovers ever for a tech firm. It is expected to make echoes across the tech industry for a long time.
Among the immediate changes expected on the platform is a restoration of certain individuals banned from the platform and the inclusion of an edit button. Former US President Donald Trump was barred earlier last year but has since said he won’t return to Twitter. Trump is building a social media platform he’s named Truth Social.
Musk said in a statement that he would “make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spambots, and authenticating all humans.”
News of the deal caused jitters across the globe, receiving cheers and jeers in equal measure.
In Washington, Republican lawmakers were elated by the imminent takeover while their Democratic counterparts said that the acquisition only affirmed the power wielded by billionaires.
Musk and Republican conservatives, including Donald Trump, hold the view that censorship is the company’s core problem and not unbecoming behaviour by users. How Musk deals with free speech o the platform remains to be seen.
The debate over Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will undoubtedly be in the public domain for some time. Once the deal is completed, Musk will not only assert his influence financially but now has a greater chance to chat the public discourse