The world’s richest man and Telsa CEO, Elon Musk has struck a deal with Twitter to take over the micro-blogging platform and influential social network for a price of USD$44 billion (roughly UGX155 Trillion) after the platform agreed to sell itself to Elon for USD$54.20 (roughly UGX193,000) a share.
Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company. It would be the largest deal to take a company private — something Mr. Musk has said he will do with Twitter — in at least two decades, according to data compiled by Dealogic.
Elon Musk in a statement announcing the deal said, “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
The Telsa boss has constantly been talking about free speech on the platform even prior to the interest in buying the platform — and it is one of the things he is looking forward to working on the platform. “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.” On Monday, he tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means.”
The billionaire, who as we report now has 85.6 million followers on the platform has repeatedly said he wants to “transform” the platform by promoting more free speech and giving users more control over what they see on it and he has also promised to change Twitter’s content moderation policies.
The deal, which has been unanimously approved by the Twitter Board of Directors, is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals, and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. If completed, it would be one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history — a feat that few on Wall Street thought possible given the size of the transaction.
In a statement, Mr. Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chairman, said “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.”
Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO, said, “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.”
Elon Musk’s interest in acquiring Twitter has raised questions about what he will do with the platform and how his actions will affect online speech globally.