Elon Musk has struck a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, according to three people familiar with the matter, ending a months-long saga of legal disputes between the world’s richest man and the social network.
Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal have reportedly been fired while Musk takes over, people familiar with the business say. The billionaire also reportedly fired Vijaya Gadd, the network’s head of legal, policy and security, and general counsel Sean Edgett.
According to Reuters, the executives were at the social network’s headquarters when the deal was struck and were escorted out.
Twitter’s shares will be suspended from trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday (28), according to the institution’s website.
The deal concludes a purchase that has been unpredictable and unprecedented and puts Musk, a self-styled “free speech absolutist”, in charge of a platform that is popular with global politicians and trusted by millions of users around the world as news source.
Musk has vowed to cut Twitter’s jobs and costs, while ramping up product innovation in an attempt to build a “super app” that incorporates payments, commerce and messaging.
He also promised to loosen content moderation rules on the platform, including reversing permanent bans, paving the way for former US President Donald Trump, who was expelled after the US Capitol attack, to return to the platform.
Musk is expected to serve as the chief executive until he chooses new leadership. He has already begun to embrace his new role with characteristic eccentric style, visiting Twitter’s San Francisco office on Wednesday to meet with employees while carrying a sink, a reference to the English expression “sink”. [pia] in”, which can be translated as “understand this”.
He also told some employees he did not intend to cut 75% of jobs, denying a Washington Post report, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Taking a more serious tone on Thursday, Musk sought to reassure advertisers – who make up the majority of the platform’s $5 billion annual revenue – that Twitter would not become “a free-for-all hell” and that it “aspired to be the respected advertising platform in the world”.
In April, Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share. A few months later, he sued the company in an attempt to back out of the deal, alleging that the social network misled investors and regulators about data regarding fake accounts and cybersecurity.
The social media company has launched a counteroffensive in an attempt to force Musk to close the acquisition, sparking a legal battle.
Just weeks before the two faced each other in a Delaware (US) court over the matter, Musk announced that he was willing to buy the company for the originally agreed price if the legal action was withdrawn.
Twitter resisted an immediate resolution and the court ordered the parties to find a way to close the deal by October 28 or face trial in November.