Elon Musk and Twitter’s board agreed late on Monday to a $44 billion offer from the CEO of Tesla to take over the company privately.
The world’s richest person, who made the bid less than two weeks ago, said Twitter had “tremendous potential” that he would unlock.
The shareholders of the social media giant must approve of the takeover before its finalization.
“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 announcing the deal.
“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,” he added.
Musk: Twitter has enormous potential
“Twitter has tremendous potential—I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” announced Musk.
🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
The move comes as Twitter faces growing pressure from politicians and regulators over the content that appears on its platform. It has drawn critics from left and right over its efforts to mediate misinformation on the platform.
In one of its most high-profile moves last year, it banned former US President Donald Trump, perhaps its most powerful user, citing the risk of “incitement of violence.”
At the time Musk observed: “A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech.”
The BBC notes that news of the takeover has been cheered by the right in the US although Trump on Monday told Fox News he had no plans to re-join the platform.
NPR opines that the world’s richest person who has a penchant for theatrics and erratic behavior is about to have the power to reshape discourse on a social network used by more than 200 million people every day.
Earlier in April, Musk had taken a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, purchasing approximately 73.5 million shares.
In March, Musk said he was giving “serious thought” to starting his own social media company and accused Twitter of “failing to adhere to free speech principles [and thus] fundamentally undermin[ing] democracy.” This remark was made given the notion that the site “serves as the de facto public town square,” as per Musk.
Elon Musk, the world’s first trillionaire by 2024
A study released in late March from accounting firm Tipalti Approve said Musk would become the world’s first trillionaire by 2024.
Musk currently boasts a net worth of around $200 billion, the highest of any living human. By mid-January of this year, that figure stood at $263 billion. Musk’s profitable work at Tesla is only one contributor to his vast wealth; it is his SpaceX project which has pushed his net worth into the twelve-figure range.
“Since 2017, Musk’s fortune has shown an annual average increase of 129%, which could potentially see him enter the trillion-dollar club in just two short years, achieving a net worth of $1.38 trillion by 2024 at age 52,” the Approve report found.