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Twitter has officially sold itself to Elon Musk. Here's what we know

It's happening.

Twitter has officially sold itself to Elon Musk. Here's what we know
Elon Musk at an event (left), and a Twitter logo in red (right). 1, 2

It finally happened.

Twitter has officially accepted Elon Musk's offer to buy the social media giant for roughly $44 billion, at a $54.20-per-share exchange on Monday, according to a press release.

This came on the heels of a quick meeting of Twitter's board to discuss Musk's latest offer, which was significantly higher than his "best and final" offer of $43 billion to take the social media juggernaut private.

As of Monday morning, Twitter was valued at $37 billion, which makes Musk's $54.2-per-share offer a staggering 54 percent premium. Musk had also forwarded his offer by saying that a refused offer would push him to reconsider his shareholder position, citing a loss of what he calls "confidence in the management."

This is going to change everything. Or is it?

Elon Musk wants to improve Twitter as a 'digital town square' with new features to 'increase trust' 

"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,” said Musk in a statement packed in the release. “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."

Musk reiterated his belief that Twitter has "tremendous potential," and added that he would work with the firm and all Twitter users to "unlock it." The decision for Twitter to sell itself was reached with unanimous approval by the firm's board of directors — and should reach its conclusion sometime in 2022.

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In reaction to the news, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal praised the deal: "Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world," he said in the release. "Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important."

Crucial to making this transaction come to fruition was Musk's style of raising the out in his SEC filing last Friday. In it, Musk revealed that $25 billion of the funds came from loans, with another $22 billion stemming from Musk's private equity. Analysts suspect these loans could put an extra $1 billion on Twitter in service costs — which is approximately 20 percent of the firm's annual revenue.

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Elon Musk could add Dogecoin for payment on Twitter and lower Twitter Blue's subscription price

This came on the heels of Twitter reacting to Musk's initial announcement to buy the website, the firm's board executed what's called a "poison pill" strategy — in what appeared like a serious attempt to resist Musk's purchase. As of writing, there's no official reason for Twitter's pivot to selling itself, but a New York Times report revealed the social media firm's employees as conflicted on the move of the impending sale.

One feature Musk hinted at adding after he initially revealed his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter was the possibility of an "edit" button — a function the website was already developing. Musk also said he'd cut the Twitter Blue ads, reduce the subscription price, and even enable Dogecoin payments on Twitter dot com. What a world.

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Everyone who has heard of Elon Musk also knows he has often expressed criticism of Twitter's moderation policies, declaring himself a "free speech absolutist" — but, both for those who thrive and didn't do so well on the Twitter of the twenty-teens, this raises concerns about how the content moderation standards will be reshaped in the coming weeks and months.

Musk's buy of Twitter could signal a change in social media policies

"It's just really important that people have the reality and the perception that they're able to speak freely within the bounds of the law," said Musk during a TED 2022 interview with Chris Anderson, according to The Verge. "I think broadly, the civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform."

After disclosing his acquisition of the largest single share of Twitter, Musk was offered a seat on the firm's board of directors, but he later backed out of that position — since it was contingent upon him never owning more than a 14.9-percent stake in the social media giant. It's important to realize that the potential for change is in flux right now. While Musk's "free speech absolutism" would ostensibly signal a drastic shift in content moderation policy from the twenty-teens (there are many reasons, right or not so right, to consider the ultimate effects some ideas have on large groups of people), he may end up doing nothing but tweaking the user interface and price structure.

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But, as is often the case in times of great social change, the truth about where we're going is often somewhere in the middle, rather than either extreme.

This was breaking news about Musk buying the social media website Twitter, and was regularly updated as new information became available.

 

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that Musk paid $43 billion for Twitter. This has been updated to reflect the correct amount of $44 billion.

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