The Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk has reached a deal with the Twitter board to acquire the company for approximately $44 billion (around £34,554 billion), the company has announced.
As rumoured earlier on Monday, the deal has been officially announced in a press release, in a deal that is likely to cause the biggest shake up of the social media landscape since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2014, and perhaps in the history of the medium in the 21st century.
In a statement, Musk said the motivation behind the agreement, which will see Twitter taken off the stock market as a wholly privately-owned company, was to protect free speech and to unlock the platform’s “tremendous potential.” He also said there are plans to “authenticate all humans”. Whatever that means.
Musk said: “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.
“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.”
In a statement of his own Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO, said, “Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important.”
The statement from the current CEO was brief and certainly didn’t make any reference to Musk or his own future with the platform.
The deal is fully funded, the press release said, and “represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022”, when Musk revealed a 9% stake in the firm. The deal, which was unanimously approved by the Twitter board, is set to close later this year, provided Twitter shareholders and regulators sign off.