Twitter’s board has accepted an offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company and take it private, the company announced Monday.
The stock closed up 5.64% for the day after it was halted for the news.
“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 included in the press release announcing the $44 billion deal. “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 cash deal at $54.20 per share is valued at around $44 billion, according to the press release. Twitter would become a private company on completion of the deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval.
The announcement ends a weekslong saga Musk kicked off when he disclosed a large stake in the company. Soon after, the company said he would join the board, only for Musk to reverse course on that plan several days later. Then, he offered to buy the company at $54.20 per share, his “best and final.” That offer valued Twitter at about $43 billion.
Assuming the deal closes and Musk takes ownership of Twitter, the company will be controlled by the world’s richest person and someone who’s been a heavy critic of the platform while using it in legally contentious ways, mostly through sensitive posts about his car manufacturer, Tesla.
Musk shared how he would like to see the platform change under his ownership.
“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” he said at the time, acknowledging that some content moderation would be needed to deal with explicit calls to violence and ensure the service complied with the laws in the country in which it operates.