Telsa CEO Elon Musk is taking Twitter private. Twitter's board of directors on Monday announced that, after initially resisting the deal, it has accepted Musk's offer to buy the company for $54.20 per share, giving it a valuation of about $44 billion.
The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter's closing stock price on April 1, which was the last trading day before Musk disclosed he owned a 9% stake in the platform.
"The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon's proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing," Bret Taylor, Twitter's Independent Board Chair, said in a statement. "The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter's stockholders."
The deal, expected to close this year, was unanimously approved by the board.
Just 10 days earlier, the board unanimously adopted a plan to block Musk's unsolicited bid. The shareholder rights plan would have gone into effect if Musk or anyone else acquired 15% or more of Twitter's outstanding common stock. At that point, the board would offer other shareholders more stock at a discounted price, thereby diluting Musk's stake in the company.
Musk made clear last week he had lined up the financing for the deal, with a $21 billion equity commitment and $25.5 billion in loans.
Echoing his previous remarks about his interest in the social media platform, Musk said in a statement, "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.
Musk's emphasis on free speech raises questions related to how the billionaire would change content moderation policies on the platform, which can have a major impact on real-world events and global politics. Notably, Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump after it concluded that he published several tweets to "inspire others to replicate violent acts." The tweets in question were posted from Trump's account days prior the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol.
Musk added on Monday, "I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."