Elon Musk completed his $44 billion Twitter takeover deal, firing the company’s CEO and financial chief and ending a lengthy tug-of-war with the social media firm’s board of directors just before a key deadline, according to a report.
Musk finally closed a deal to take the struggling social network late Thursday, ousting Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, according to CNBC, which cited unnamed sources. It wasn’t immediately clear who would replace them.
The agreement between Musk’s legal team and Twitter’s board was reached less than a day before the 5 p.m. Friday deadline imposed by Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick. Without a deal, Musk and Twitter would have clashed on opposite sides of a November trial.
Reps for Musk and Twitter officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Under the deal’s terms, Musk will buy Twitter at the originally-agreed price of $54.20 per share. Musk has vowed to take the company private and reshape the platform with an emphasis on free speech.
Musk signaled throughout the week that he intended to finalize the takeover deal. The eccentric billionaire changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” and posted a video of himself barging into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a sink.
Musk’s involvement has renewed hand-wringing about Twitter employees who fear he will enact sweeping layoffs and other cost-cutting measures while reshaping the company’s business.
The Tesla boss took steps to assure skeptics. During his office visit, Musk said he had no intention of slashing 75% of Twitter’s workforce upon taking control, as the Washington Post had reported.
Musk also posted a lengthy message to Twitter’s advertisers, writing that he had no intention of turning the social media platform into a “free-for-all hellscape.” Critics had suggested that Musk’s aggressive stance on free speech would enable extremism voices to thrive on the platform.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk said.
Musk’s co-investors, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, are contributing $7.1 billion toward the deal. Banks including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are covering $13 billion in debt financing.
During Tesla’s earnings call earlier this month, Musk admitted that he was “obviously overpaying” to buy the firm, but added he felt the “long-term potential for Twitter is an order of magnitude greater than its current value.”
While Musk’s long-term plans for Twitter are still murky, the executive has called the company an “accelerant” for his goal of creating an “everything app” called X. The app is widely expected to mirror the Tencent-owned social media app WeChat, which offers a wide array of services ranging from payments to food delivery and ride-sharing.
Earlier this month, Musk said acquisition of Twitter “probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong.”
The closed deal followed a months-long saga that began in April, when Musk disclosed that he had taken a sizable stake in Twitter. By April, Twitter’s board had accepted Musk’s offer to buy the company for $54.20 per share, or $44 billion.
Musk later attempted to back out of the agreement, citing concerns about the number of spam bots within Twitter’s user base and accusing the company of withholding key information about the issue.
In July, Twitter’s board sued Musk in Delaware Chancery Court an effort to enforce the original $44 billion deal by court order. As the trial approached, Musk reversed course again and signaled that he would honor the original agreement.
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