Billionaire and the world's wealthiest person Elon Musk has reached an agreement to acquire Twitter for approximately $44 billion (Rs 3,30,000 crore), the company said.
Bret Taylor, Twitter's Independent Board Chair, 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."
The outspoken Tesla CEO has said he wants to buy Twitter because he thinks it's not living up to its potential as a platform for "free speech." He says it needs to be transformed as a private company in order to build trust with users and do better at serving what he calls the "societal imperative" of free speech.
In a recent TED interview, the billionaire said he'd like to see Twitter err on the side of allowing speech instead of moderating it. He said he'd be "very reluctant" to delete tweets and would generally be cautious about permanent bans. He also acknowledged that Twitter would have to abide by national laws governing speech in markets around the world.
Musk himself, though, regularly blocks social media users who have criticized him or his company and has used the platform to bully reporters who have written critical articles about him or his company.
"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."
Transaction Terms and Financing
The transaction, 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.
Musk has secured $25.5 billion of fully committed debt and margin loan financing and is providing an approximately $21.0 billion equity commitment. There are no financing conditions to the closing of the transaction.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan, and Allen & Co. are serving as financial advisors to Twitter, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP are serving as legal counsel. Morgan Stanley is acting as lead financial advisor to Musk. BofA Securities and Barclays are also acting as financial advisors. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal counsel.