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Twitter: Elon Musk takeover announced with Tesla titan to shell out $44bn

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Twitter has announced that the social media company will be sold to Tesla titan Elon Musk for around $44bn.

Mr Musk will pay $54.20 cash per share for the San Francisco-based platform, which will now be taken private after days of intense negotiations between the entrepreneur and the board.

“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,”said Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO.

The board announced it had reached a deal with Mr Musk on Monday, and that it represented a 38 per cent premium from Twitter’s closing price on 1 April, the day before the world’s richest person made his move for the company by announcing his 9 per cent stake.

“The Twitter board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing. The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders,” said Bret Taylor, Twitter’s independent board chair.

In a statement the company said that the deal had “been unanimously approved by the Twitter board of directors” and that it was expected to close in 2022, if approved by shareholders.

The company confirmed that Mr Musk, who is worth an estimated $259bn, had secured $25.5bn in debt and loan financing, and was providing $21bn of equity commitment.

“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,” Mr Musk said in the company statement.

“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.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Musk had urged his “worst critics” to stay on Twitter, before it was announced he had reached agreement to buy it.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” he wrote.

The entrepreneur has made the free speech issue a central one in his attempted takeover of the platform, leaving his critics to suggest that he will allow banned right-wing figures such as Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene back.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Mr Musk buying Twitter at her Monday press briefing.

Ms Psaki said she is “not going to comment on a specific transition” but reiterated that the Biden administration continues to believe that “no matter who owns or runs Twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms” and stressed that “tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause”.

She pointed to bipartisan interest in Congress for antitrust measures and reforming section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

And she added: “Our concerns are not new. We’ve long talked about, and the president has long talked about, the powers of social media platforms … to spread misinformation, disinformation [and] the need for these platforms to be held accountable.”

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