The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has completed his $44bn (£38.1bn) takeover of Twitter, according to US media and an investor in the firm. He tweeted “the bird is freed,” in an apparent reference to the deal closing.
A number of top executives, including the CEO, Parag Agrawal, Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and trust; Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, who joined Twitter in 2017; and Sean Edgett, who has been general counsel at Twitter since 2012 have reportedly been fired.
It brings to a close a saga that saw Twitter go to court to hold the billionaire to the terms of a takeover deal that he had tried to escape.
Shareholders will be paid $54.20 per share, and Twitter will now operate as a private company. The completion caps a convoluted saga that began in January with the billionaire’s quiet accumulation of a major stake in the company, his growing exasperation with how it’s run and an eventual merger accord that he later spent months trying to unravel.
On October 4, Musk agreed to proceed on his originally proposed terms, and a Delaware Chancery Court judge gave the two sides until October 28 to wrap up the deal. That deadline was met, and now Musk, who is CEO of both Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, also controls Twitter, a service he uses often but criticizes openly, and that he has promised to change dramatically. The company’s shares are no longer expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Musk’s ownership will bring immediate disruption to Twitter’s operations, in part because many of his ideas for how to change the company are at odds with how it has been run for years. He has said he wants to ensure “free speech” on the social network, which is likely to mean looser content moderation standards, and plans to restore some high-profile accounts that were kicked off Twitter for breaking rules,such as former U.S. President Donald Trump’s. More broadly, Musk’s initiatives threaten to undo years of Twitter’s efforts to reduce bullying and abuse on the platform.