‘Free speech absolutist’ Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion
Billionaire Elon Musk has reached an agreement to acquire Twitter for around $44 billion, the company announced.
The outspoken CEO of Tesla, the richest person in the world, said he wanted to buy Twitter because he thinks it doesn’t live up to its potential as a “freedom of freedom” platform. ‘expression “. He says it needs to be transformed into a private company in order to build trust with users and better serve what he calls the “societal imperative” of free speech.
Twitter said it would go private after the sale closes.
“Twitter has purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world,” CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet. “Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important.”
Musk describes himself as a “free speech absolutist”, although he hasn’t been very clear what he means by that.
Musk himself, however, regularly blocks social media users who have criticized him or his company and has used the platform to intimidate journalists who have written critical articles about him or his company.
Twitter’s board first passed an anti-takeover measure known as the poison pill that could have made a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive. But when Musk outlined the financial commitments he had made to back his $46.5 billion bid — and no other bidders emerged — the board opened negotiations with him.
NJ congresswoman criticizes deal
U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, DN.J. 12th District, reacted to the news by calling for a “billionaire minimum income tax.”
When asked at a recent TED talk if there were any limits to his notion of “free speech,” Musk said that Twitter or any forum is “obviously bound by the laws of the country in which he operates. Obviously, there are limits to freedom of expression. in the United States, and, of course, Twitter should follow these rules.
Beyond that, however, he said he would be “very reluctant” to remove things and would generally be cautious about permanent bans.
It won’t be perfect, Musk added, “but I think we want him to really have the perception and the reality that speech is as free as reasonably possible.”
Shares of Twitter Inc. rose 5% on Monday to $51.50 per share. On April 14, Musk announced an offer to buy the social media platform for $54.20 per share, or about $43 billion, but did not say at the time how he would finance the acquisition.
Last week, he said in documents filed with US securities regulators that the money would come from Morgan Stanley and other banks, some of which was secured by his huge stake in Tesla.
Musk is the richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with a fortune of nearly $279 billion. But much of his money is tied up in shares of Tesla — he owns about 17% of the electric car company, according to FactSet, which is valued at more than $1 trillion — and SpaceX, his private space company. It’s unclear how much money Musk has.
Musk made his fortune in 1999 when he sold Zip2, an online mapping and business directory, to Compaq for $307 million. He used his share to create what would become PayPal, an internet service that bypassed banks and allowed consumers to pay businesses directly. It was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
That same year, Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, after finding that cost constraints were limiting NASA’s interplanetary travel. The company eventually developed cost-effective reusable rockets.
In 2004, Musk was courted to invest in Tesla, then a startup trying to build an electric car. Eventually, he became CEO and led the company to astronomical success as the world’s most valuable automaker and biggest seller of electric vehicles.
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