Twitter’s board of directors announced Monday afternoon that they accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to buy the social media giant and take it private.
After initially being rebuffed by Twitter’s board in his takeover bid, negotiations ramped up Sunday and continued through the morning until the $44 billion deal was agreed on.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy,” Musk said in a statement that was included in the press release announcing the deal. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO listed improvements he wants to make to Twitter, including open source algorithms for greater transparency and trust, eliminating spam bots and authenticating all human users.
Many on the left are expressing skepticism over the benefits of having a “free speech absolutist,” as Musk frequently describes himself, as owner of the social media company. These same critics, however, appear to have no issue with billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s ownership of Facebook and related political activism.
The 11-member board began taking Musk’s bid of $54.20 per share more seriously when he garnered commitments for financing, including being personally responsible for about half of the total. He announced his intent to buy Twitter and take it private on April 14, and a Thursday securities filing that was made public revealed he assembled financing through investment bank Morgan Stanley and a group of other lenders.
The billionaire’s deal for the 16-year-old company is a 54% premium over Twitter’s share price immediately before he began accruing its stock in January. Shareholder pressure is credited by many for the company’s decision to sit down with Musk and hammer out the deal.
Twitter had already adopted the so-called “poison pill” to make its acquisition far less attractive and indicated it would look at other offers. Musk, meanwhile, presented his offer as his “last and best, and now the company has accepted.
If the left is as committed to free speech as they’ve historically claimed instead of simply desiring to control the flow of information, they should welcome this deal. If not, it’s just further proof that Musk’s purchase of Twitter is a good thing. Stay tuned.