The board of Twitter has agreed to a $44 billion USD takeover offer from the billionaire Elon Musk.
Mr. Musk, who made the shock bid less than two weeks ago, said Twitter had “tremendous potential” that he would unlock.
He also called for a series of changes from relaxing its content restrictions to eradicating fake accounts.
The firm initially rebuffed Mr. Musk’s bid, but it will now ask shareholders to vote to approve the deal.
Mr. Musk is the world’s richest person, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of $273.6bn mostly due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla which he runs. He also leads the aerospace firm SpaceX.
🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
The move comes as Twitter faces growing pressure from politicians and regulators over the content that appears on its platform. It has drawn critics from left and right over its efforts to mediate misinformation on the platform.
In one of its most high-profile moves, last year it banned former US President Donald Trump, perhaps its most powerful user, citing the risk of “incitement of violence”.
At the time Mr Musk observed: “A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech.”
News of the takeover has been cheered by the right in the US, although Mr Trump on Monday told Fox News he had no plans to re-join the platform.
Can Musk turn Twitter around?
As part of the takeover, which is expected to close later this year, Twitter’s shares will be delisted and it will be taken private.
Mr Musk has suggested this will give him freedom to make the changes he wants to the business.
Among other ideas, he has suggested allowing longer posts and introducing the ability to edit them after they have been published.
Twitter shares on Monday closed more than 5% higher after the deal was announced.
But the price remained lower than Mr Musk’s $54.20 per share offer, a sign that Wall Street believes he is overpaying for the firm.
Mr Musk has said he doesn’t “care about the economics” of the purchase. However, he will take on a company with a chequered record of financial performance.
Despite its influence, Twitter has rarely turned a profit and user growth, particularly in the US, has slowed.
The company, founded in 2004, ended 2021 with $5bn in revenue and 217 million daily users globally – a fraction of the figures claimed by other platforms such as Facebook.
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