After a complex, months-long saga, Elon Musk is now officially the owner of Twitter. The deal closed on Thursday. Prior to the official closing, Musk entered Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco while carrying a sink, writing on the platform: “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” Another tweet stated that “the bird has been freed,” a reference to Twitter’s bird logo.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk, the world’s richest person, said in a tweet.
By the end of the day on Thursday, Musk fired several of the company’s top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and head of legal policy, trust, and safety Vijaya Gadde. According to Marketwatch, the company is on the hook to pay more than $200 million to those three executives.
With the company now going private, shares have been suspended and will be delisted next month.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported that Musk may be planning to do away with lifetime bans and will likely remain CEO, at least on an interim basis. Musk told investors prior to the closing that he planned to get rid of 75 percent of the company’s staff, although it’s not clear if the cuts will be that deep.
As for the big question of whether former President Donald Trump and other high-profile banned accounts may return to the platform, Musk tweeted Friday that “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints… No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
Musk agreed to buy Twitter back in April but later declared that he was putting the deal “on hold” before announcing his intention to back out of it altogether. Twitter then sued him, and the dispute was headed to Delaware Chancery Court before Musk reversed himself and agreed to buy the company for the agreed-upon price. The closing beat a Friday deadline that would have sent the dispute back to court.
“The easy part for Musk was buying Twitter, the difficult part and Everest-like uphill battle looking ahead will be fixing this troubled asset,” analyst Daniel Ives said in a note on Friday. “The $44 billion price tag for Twitter will go down as one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in the history of M&A deals on the Street in our opinion. With fair value that we would peg at roughly $25 billion, Musk buying Twitter remains a major head scratcher that ultimately he could not get out of once the Delaware Courts got involved.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.