Elon Musk has completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, the company confirmed in a securities filing on Friday, putting the world’s richest man at the helm of one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms.
The company said the deal was “effective” on Thursday as part of a filing with the New York Stock Exchange of its intention to delist, a move that occurred later on Friday. The confirmation comes after a source familiar with the deal told CNN the deal was closed Thursday night.
Musk also appeared to acknowledge the takeover in a tweet Thursday night, saying “the bird has been released.”
Closing the deal removes the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over Twitter’s business, employees and shareholders for most of the year. It also averts a legal battle that was set to take place if the acquisition didn’t close by 5pm ET Friday.
But Musk’s takeover now raises a host of new questions about the future of the social media platform and the many corners of society it touches. Musk on Thursday fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Neg Segal and head of policy Vijaya Gade, according to two sources familiar with the situation. He also fired Sean Edgett, Twitter’s general counsel, a source told CNN.
Although multiple news outlets confirmed the changes Thursday evening, Twitter employees had not yet been officially informed of the changes as of Friday morning, two Twitter officials told CNN. “Employees are left feeling completely helpless – half our leaders are gone, those who remain are silent and we’re watching the platform go crazy with people either gleefully anticipating more layoffs or pushing the boundaries of what was previously allowed,” one Twitter employee said CNN on Friday.
IN a tweet On Friday, Segal confirmed his departure from the company. “Thursday marks 5 years @twitter,” he wrote. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people building the world’s city square for all our stakeholders. The work is not finished, but we have made significant progress.”
Musk said he plans to rethink Twitter’s content moderation policies in favor of a more maximalist approach to “free speech.” The billionaire also said he disagreed with Twitter’s practice of permanently banning those who repeatedly violate its rules, raising the possibility that a number of previously banned controversial users could reappear on the platform.
Perhaps most likely, many will be watching to see how soon Musk can allow former President Donald Trump back on the platform, as he previously said he would. Depending on the timing, such a move could have major implications for the upcoming US midterm elections as well as the 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump said in a post on his social platform, Truth Social, on Friday that he was “very happy that Twitter is now in good hands” following the Musk takeover. “Truth Social has become somewhat of a phenomenon,” he said. “It also looks and works better to my eye,” he said. Trump previously said he would stay on Truth Social rather than return to Twitter, where he still has tens of millions of followers.
Later on Friday, Trump said in an interview with Fox News: “I stand by the Truth. I like it better, I like the way it works, I like Elon, but I stick with the Truth.
By taking steps to change the platform, Musk could single-handedly upend the media and political ecosystem, reshape public discourse online and disrupt the nascent realm of conservative-leaning social media, which emerged largely in response to complaints about bans and restrictions in Twitter and other mainstream services.
Earlier this week, Musk tried to ease some concerns about how he might change the platform. He posted an open letter to advertisers on Twitter, saying he doesn’t want the platform to become a “free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said without consequence.”
The acquisition also promises to expand Musk’s influence. The billionaire already owns, controls or has significant stakes in companies developing cars, rockets, robots and satellite internet, as well as more experimental ventures such as brain implants. Now he controls a social media platform that defines how hundreds of millions of people communicate and get news.