American billionaire Elon Musk reached an agreement to buy Twitter for roughly $44 billion — around Rs. 3,365 crore — on Monday. Musk had first announced a succession bid on April 13, and in SEC filing had called it his ‘best and final’ offer. Here’s what we know of the deal so far:
What Musk said
“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. 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 spambots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” Musk said in a press statement posted to his Twitter account.
What’s next now that Twitter has agreed to Musk’s bid?
The deal is expected to close sometime this year. But before that, shareholders still have to weigh in, as well as regulators in the US and in countries where Twitter does business, before the deal is completed. The process is off to a good start for Musk, given that Twitter’s board has unanimously approved his offer and is recommending shareholders do the same.
Will CEO Parag Agrawal remain onboard?
Twitter Inc CEO Parag Agrawal told employees on Monday that the future of the social media firm is uncertain after the deal to be taken private under Musk closes. However, he said that there will be no layoffs, at least for now.
Agrawal, a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay’s 2005 batch, would get an estimated $42 million if he were terminated within 12 months of a change in control at the social media company, according to research firm Equilar. Equilar’s estimate includes a year’s worth of Agrawal’s base salary plus accelerated vesting of all equity awards, an Equilar spokesperson said.
Where will Musk get cash for Twitter?
Of the $44 billion, 50-year-old Musk has outlined the $13 billion in bank financing secured by the social-media company and the $12.5 billion backed by a pledge of some of his $170 billion Tesla Inc. stake. But he’s been short on details about how he’ll fund the remainder.
There’s little doubt he can come up with the money. Musk is the world’s richest person, with a fortune of $257 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. However, he has just about $3 billion in cash and somewhat liquid assets, according to Bloomberg estimates. Some of the options in front of him include approaching like-minded investors, selling his stakes in Tesla, or dipping into his unknown stash of crypto.
Elon Musk can at times be inscrutable, and his politics are elusive, which has made it somewhat difficult to determine exactly what the billionaire would do if he successfully acquired Twitter.
But over the past weeks and months, as he neared Monday’s deal with the company, Musk has given more hints about what he would change about Twitter — in interviews, regulatory filings and, of course, on his Twitter account. More content moderators, err… free-er free speech, a possible change in Twitter algorithm? Here’s what experts think.
Wait… does this mean Trump will be back?
Nope, says the former US President.
Donald Trump said Monday that he has no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account is reinstated. Trump told Fox News that he will instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which has been mired in problems since its launch earlier this year. “I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump was quoted telling the network. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth.”
Trump was barred from major social media platforms after the deadly January 6 insurrection, with Twitter citing the “risk of further incitement of violence”.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey weighs in
While Musk’s takeover of the social network has sparked mixed reactions all over, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has given him wholehearted approval.
Dorsey posted in a series of tweets that approved of Musk’s deal and said that ‘taking it back from Wall Street’ was the correct first step. For those who are unaware, Musk intends to take the company private, meaning it will not be a publicly listed one. Dorsey went on to add, “In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company, however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.”
What happens at Twitter under? CEO says there’s no clarity
So what will happen at Twitter under Elon Musk? Well, according to Reuters, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal told employees on Monday that the future of the social media firm is uncertain. He made the remarks at a company-wide town hall meeting. It also looks like Musk will join Twitter staff for a question-and-answer session at a later date. Will Twitter see layoffs? There’s no clarity on this either.
What changes does Musk plan to bring?
Musk has spoken about making the algorithm more open-source. He’s also spoken about the need for an Edit button, as well as taking on spam bots. It should be noted that most of Musk’s tweets see a number of spam accounts posting in replies. Many of them use Musk profile picture and name as their own, though the main handle name is different. The spam tweets typically include crypto links and claims of crypto rewards. Users are advised not to click on these links.