Online service gives up resistance: Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion

Twitter has dropped its opposition to a takeover by tech billionaire Elon Musk. The online service announced Monday that it had reached a settlement with Musk. Twitter will then be delisted from the stock market. The price remains at the $54.20 per share that Musk offered from the start. Now it’s up to Twitter shareholders to decide whether to accept the offer.

Musk announced in early April that he had quietly and secretly bought a nice 9 percent stake in Twitter for weeks. Then events unfolded. Musk should first move to Twitter’s board of directors. However, this would have been subject to the condition that the head of electric car manufacturer Tesla not increase his Twitter share by more than 15 percent. Instead, he turned down the supervisory board seat and announced that he wanted to buy the company.

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The board then introduced a countermeasure that allows other shareholders to buy shares at lower prices as soon as an attacker like Musk has a stake of more than 15 percent. At the same time, Twitter generally reserved the right to accept a deal. Musk explains his interest in alleged restrictions on free speech on the short message service, which he wants to deactivate.

The 50-year-old last week submitted loan commitments of more than $25.5 billion and also wants to bring in shares worth around $21 billion. Musk is by far the richest person in the world. However, his fortune consists almost exclusively of shares in Tesla and his space company SpaceX, so he too would have to resort to credit for a Twitter purchase.

Musk wants to make Twitter a “global platform for free speech.”

Musk is one of the most active celebrity Twitter users with around 83 million followers. He announced that he wants to make Twitter a “global platform for freedom of expression” because it is important to civilization. Musk’s promises of looser regulation drew criticism from experts.

His criticism of the state of free speech on Twitter resonates with supporters of former President Donald Trump and other American conservatives. Among other things, they have long criticized the fact that Twitter and other online platforms are cracking down on false information about the corona virus and uncovered allegations of Trump election fraud.

Trump was kicked off Twitter after expressing sympathy for his supporters who stormed the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. Management has so far emphasized that there is no going back to the platform for the former president. Musk’s approaches now could make Trump sit up and take notice with a view to running again in the 2024 presidential election: He sees temporary “waiting times” as better than permanent exclusions, the Tesla boss said at large. In the early days, Musk himself downplayed the dangers of the corona virus and criticized the restrictions in California as “fascist”.

Founded in 2006, Twitter quickly became something of a nervous system for the news industry. Twitter came to public attention in 2009 after a user posted photos of a passenger plane that had landed in New York’s Hudson River. For Trump, Twitter was by far the most important means of communication both before and during his tenure.

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