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Elon Musk wins Twitter for $44bn

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Twitter’s board of directors has agreed to a $44 billion (£34.5 billion) takeover bid from billionaire Elon Musk. Mr Musk, who made the surprise bid less than two weeks ago, stated that Twitter has “tremendous potential” that he intends to unlock. He also called for a slew of changes, ranging from loosening content restrictions to eliminating fake accounts. The company initially rejected Mr. Musk’s offer, but it will now put the deal to a vote among shareholders.

 

According to Forbes magazine, Mr Musk is the world’s richest person, with an estimated net worth of $273.6 billion, owing primarily to his ownership of the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, which he runs. He is also the CEO of the aerospace company SpaceX. “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 stated in a statement announcing the agreement. “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,”

 

The move comes at a time when Twitter is under increasing scrutiny from politicians and regulators regarding the content that appears on its platform. Its efforts to mediate misinformation on the platform have drawn criticism from both the left and the right. In one of its most visible moves, it barred former US President Donald Trump, perhaps its most powerful user, from using it last year, citing the risk of “incitement of violence.” “A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech,” Mr Musk predicted at the time. The right wing in the United States has applauded the takeover, though Mr Trump told Fox News on Monday that he has no plans to rejoin the platform. The White House did not comment on the takeover, but spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters, “Regardless of who owns or runs Twitter, the president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms.” On Twitter, Julian Knight, chairman of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, described the agreement as a “extraordinary development in the world of social media.” “It will be interesting to see how a privately owned Twitter (run by a man who is a staunch supporter of free speech) reacts to global regulatory efforts.”

 

Twitter’s shares will be delisted and the company will be taken private as part of the takeover, which is expected to close later this year. Mr. Musk has stated that this will allow him to make the changes he desires to the company. He has proposed, among other things, allowing longer posts and allowing them to be edited after they have been published. Following the announcement of the deal, Twitter stock closed more than 5% higher on Monday. However, the price remained lower than Mr Musk’s offer of $54.20 per share, indicating that Wall Street believes he is overpaying for the company. Mr. Musk has stated that he is unconcerned about the purchase’s economics. He will, however, take on a company with a shaky track record of financial performance. Despite its power, Twitter has never made a profit, and user growth has slowed, particularly in the United States. The company, which was founded in 2004, ended 2021 with $5 billion in revenue and 217 million daily users worldwide, which is a fraction of the figures claimed by other platforms such as Facebook. Twitter’s board chair, Bret Taylor, said the company had fully evaluated Mr Musk’s offer and determined it was “the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

 

It is unclear who will lead the company going forward. Twitter is currently led by Parag Agrawal, who took over from co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey last November. However, in his offer document, Mr Musk stated to Twitter’s board, “I don’t have confidence in management.” On Monday, Mr. Agrawal informed employees that Twitter’s future is uncertain. “Once the deal closes, we don’t know which direction the platform will go,” he told Reuters.

Written by: Relaks Radio

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