Twitter has reached an agreement for billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media platform in a $44bn (£34.6bn) deal.The announcement followed, what were reported to be, extensive discussions between Mr Musk and Twitter’s board starting on Sunday that stretched into Monday.
Mr Musk announced an offer to buy the social media platform on 14 April for $54.20 a share, or about $43bn, saying that he was not doing it to make money but to unlock Twitter’s potential.The additional $1bn price tag is understood to reflect the purchase of additional shares revealed by Twitter.The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on 1 April, which was the last trading day before Mr Musk disclosed his 9% stake.
The deal means Twitter is now on course to be taken private, ending its run on the stock market which began in 2013.
Its shares, briefly suspended for the announcement, were 6% up on the news but trading at $51 per share – well below the offer price of $54.20 – possibly indicating that some scepticism remained over the takeover.
The new talks were prompted by Tesla and SpaceX chief Mr Musk disclosing that he had secured financing for his offer, despite the company adopting a “poison pill” strategy, driving shareholders to urge the company’s management not to let a deal slip away.Bret Taylor, Twitter’s independent board chair, said of the numbers: “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.”Mr Musk added: “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.”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.”Mr Musk, who is a regular user of the platform, made the surprise offer to buy Twitter earlier this month.It came just days after he rejected a seat on the social media company’s board, which would have stopped him from taking over the company.The meme-posting billionaire, who is now the wealthiest man in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, now needs to win a shareholder vote and subsequently secure regulatory approval.The statement said the deal was expected to close later this year.