Twitter has accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to buy the social media company for approximately $44 billion.
The Tesla CEO will pay $54.20 per share, according to a statement on Monday, confirming reports over the weekend that a deal was imminent.
The transaction, which will make Twitter a privately held company, is expected to close some time this year, pending approval of Twitter stockholders and regulators.
Twitter’s independent board chair Bret Taylor said the board conducted a “thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with deliberate focus on value, certainty and financing.”
The announcement comes four days after the billionaire unveiled a financing package to back the acquisition, which, Reuters reported, led Twitter’s board to take the offer more seriously.
Musk made the purchase with $25.5 billion of fully committed debt and margin loan financing and an additional $21 billion equity commitment.
Musk has previously said his $54.20 “best and final” offer is a 54% premium over the day before he began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before his investment was publicly announced.
Musk put forward the offer earlier this month, a move that came days after he acquired a 9.2% stake in the social media site. A day later, Twitter’s board put in place a so-called poison pill as a way to stymie a potential deal.
The Tesla CEO has said that, should his takeover succeed, he would open source Twitter’s algorithm and try to make it an inclusive arena for free speech. He also said he would try to tackle spam and bot accounts.
Musk also pointed to the importance of Twitter as a free speech platform in the announcement of the transaction.
“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. “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. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Ahead of the announcement, he tweeted that he hoped even his worst critics would remain on the platform, “because that is what free speech means.”
Twitter is set to report first-quarter earnings on Thursday. It is not planning to hold a corresponding conference call due to the transaction.
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