Elon Musk, Twitter deal is over

New York
CNN business

Elon Musk has completed his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, a source familiar with the deal told CNN on Thursday, putting the world’s richest man in charge of one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

Musk fired CEO Parag Agrawal and two other executives, according to two people familiar with the decision. Twitter declined to comment.

The closing of the deal removes the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over Twitter’s business, employees and shareholders for much of the year. After initially agreeing to buy the company in April, Musk spent months trying to get out of the deal, first citing concerns about the number of bots on the platform and then allegations raised by a company whistleblower.

But Musk’s takeover and the imminent firing of some of its top executives raise many new questions for the future of the social media platform, and for the many corners of society affected by it. Musk also fired CEO Ned Segal and chief policy officer Vijaya Gadde on Thursday, according to two sources.

Musk has said he plans to rethink Twitter’s content moderation policies in the service of a more maximalist view of “freedom of expression.” The billionaire also said he does not agree with Twitter’s permanent bans for repeat violators, raising the possibility that several previously banned users will reappear on the platform.

Perhaps immediately, many will be watching to see if Musk can let former President Donald Trump back on the platform, as he previously said he would.

By taking those steps, Musk could single-handedly upend the media and political ecosystem, reshape public discourse online and disrupt the scope of conservative social media properties, largely in response to complaints about bans and restrictions on Twitter and other major services.

Musk, a prominent and controversial Twitter user, became involved with the company earlier this year when he built a stake of more than 9% in its stock. After announcing that he had become Twitter’s largest shareholder, Musk accepted and then withdrew his offer to sit on the company’s board.

Musk then offered to buy Twitter first, threatened a counter-buyout and signed a “seller’s deal” that waived due diligence to buy the company. Within weeks, Musk began raising concerns about the prevalence of fake accounts and spam on Twitter and eventually tried to end the deal. However, Twitter sued to continue the acquisition deal and with the legal dispute nearing trial, Musk said he would continue the deal on its original terms.

Earlier this week, Musk visited Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco to meet with employees. He also sent an open letter to Twitter’s advertisers, saying he doesn’t want the platform to become a “free-for-all hellscape” where anything can be said without consequence.