Tesla CEO, and world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has successfully acquired micro-blogging site, Twitter, for a whopping $44 billion on Monday, ending a story that included hostile takeover attempts before handing him personal control of one of the world’s most influential social media platform. ayokinews.com reports
Musk, a self-described “free-speech absolutist,” had earlier stated that he wants to improve what he regards as the platform’s overzealous content censorship. Former US president Donald Trump famously used Twitter as a megaphone until the platform banned him.
“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 released by Twitter.
“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.”
According to Twitter, the publicly listed corporation will now become a private entity controlled by Musk, who negotiated a $54.20 per-share acquisition price.
“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 company’s CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet.
Musk secured $46.5 billion in funding last week to complete the deal, and Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, predicted earlier in the day that the board would likely approve his bid because no other buyer could be found.
“This basically put (their) back against the wall, they had to come to the negotiation table,” Dan said in an interview on CNBC.
Around 1915 GMT, Twitter stock was trading 5.9% higher on Wall Street.
Musk, who had criticized Twitter’s excessive moderation, purchased a 9% stake in the firm in April and then offered to buy the entire company altogether, claiming a goal to preserve free expression.
While the board first stated that it was considering Musk’s offer, it eventually rejected him and implemented a “poison pill” strategy that would have made it more difficult for Musk to gain control of the company.
Musk, whose enormous wealth originates from the success of Tesla electric automobiles as well as other companies, said last week that he had secured funding for the purchase.
Despite Musk’s wealth, the issue of finance had been viewed as a possible stumbling barrier because a large portion of his holdings are in Tesla stock rather than liquid cash.
Musk stated in a filing that the acquisition was made possible by a $13 billion debt facility from a finance consortium managed by Morgan Stanley, a second $12.5 billion margin loan from the same bank, and $21 billion from his own fortune.
Musk’s initiatives have sparked optimism about Twitter’s business prospects, despite the company’s clout in culture and politics.
Twitter, under Agrawal’s leadership, made progress on new monetization features such as subscription products, Truist securities said in a note, adding that “short term, Musk’s involvement at this stage runs the risk of disrupting those efforts.”
However, the campaign of the contentious Tesla CEO has alarmed technology and free-speech experts, who point to Musk’s erratic outbursts and history of harassing opponents, which contradict his claimed goals.
Although, Concerns has been raised by Progressive group Media Matters for America, who warned that former President Donald J. Trump, who was banned from Twitter after attack on the US Capitol by his supporters (wanting to reverse the 2020 presidential election outcome), might return to the platform.
“Any negotiations to sell Twitter to Musk must include clear enforceable mechanisms to uphold and maintain existing community standards, including the removal of those who violate those standards,” the group’s president Angelo Carusone said in a statement.
Source (Credit): AFP