Twitter is going to sell itself to Elon Musk for around $44 billion, the company announced today.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks during which Musk initially acquired a large portion of the company, agreed to join its board of directors, declined to join its board of directors, and launched a hostile takeover, Twitter’s board today announced it will accept Musk’s offer to buy the company for $54.20 per share in cash, what he said two weeks ago would be his “best and final” offer.
“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,” Musk said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a statement.
Musk, the world’s richest person, the head of the world’s most famous electric car and private space companies, and a terrible shitposter, now owns the very platform that helped him become the internet’s semi-permanent main character.
Twitter did not accept Musk’s offer lightly. Just last week, the company adopted a so-called “poison pill,” or shareholder rights plan, which was invented by lawyer Martin Lipton to help his clients fend off corporate raiders in the 1980s. The goal is to make it harder or less appealing for Musk to own the company.
There was also some speculation about whether Musk, whose massive fortune is mostly tied up in the value of his companies, could secure the cash he needed to buy Twitter. But last Thursday, a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that he has secured $46.5 billion to buy Twitter from Morgan Stanley and other unnamed financial institutions in the form of loans and equity financing.
Some Twitter employees have previously suggested that, should Musk’s hostile takeover succeed, it would trigger a mass exodus from the company.
“It would be interesting to see how he’d run a company with no employees,” Twitter Director of ML Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability Rumman Chowdhury tweeted April 11, when asked if she feared a hostile takeover.
My meticulously curated Twitter feed has exhibited the following reactions to the news: anger, despair, intense sarcasm, catatonia, and rallying cries for people to relocate their posting energy to other platforms like Mastodon, an open source, federated alternative to Twitter. I also saw one person post their literal asshole but I don’t think that was in response to the news.
I am personally at peace. The reality is that Twitter has long since stopped being an internet platform from which I’m able to derive any type of social connection, the ostensible non-monetary value of social media. It is still a great place to find information, refined by reporters and new organizations, but also raw and twisted, spewing forth from the minds of millions of rank and file posters. It’s how I first learned that this deal was really going to happen, for example. And how else would I know what that person’s asshole looks like?
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