Mother Jones illustration; Matt Rourke/AP; Twitter
In a stunning development that caps off 11 days of fevered speculation, Twitter announced today that it has accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover 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,” the Tesla chief executive said in a statement. “Twitter has tremendous potential—I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Less than two weeks ago, on April 14, Musk shocked observers by announcing his intentions to buy the company and take it private. Twitter initially seemed unreceptive to Musk’s unsolicited offer, adopting a “poison pill” that would have significantly complicated the billionaire’s ability to acquire more than 15 percent of the company’s shares. However, company executives opened the door to negotiations on April 21, after Musk released a detailed plan showing how he’d finance the deal.
With over 82 million followers, Musk has been a prolific Twitter user and a sharp critic of its use of content moderation, saying that he favors temporary suspensions over permanent bans. It remains unclear what changes, technical or philosophical, Musk’s stewardship will bring to the platform. In interviews, he’s floated a series of potential ideas, including installing an edit button, allowing for longer tweets, culling bots, and making Twitter’s algorithm open source.