People & Money

‘The bird is free’: Elon Musk’s $44bn Twitter takeover gets mixed reaction

After months of uncertainty, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, finally completed his $44bn takeover of Twitter.

The billionaire entrepreneur announced the long-awaited deal, tweeting this morning: “The bird is free”.

The owner of Tesla made a dramatic entrance to the company’s San Fransisco HQ on Wednesday evening carrying a porcelain basin, tweeting: “let that sink in”.

However, the news that the deal has finally completed has been met with mixed reaction, with some suggesting that this could spell the return of banned users like former US president Donald Trump and Kanye West.

Also Read: Elon Musk says $44bn mega takeover of Twitter is ‘on hold’

The hashtag ‘Deleting’ is now trending across the platform, with some users appearing rather uncertain about what a future under Musk may look like.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton responded to the news and reminded Musk that his new free speech focus would need to abide by EU regulation.

Ousted

Musk wasted no time in reshuffling the senior leadership team, sacking Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone thanked the three sacked executives, describing them as “massive talents” and “beautiful humans”.

Segal posted a long thread on Twitter this afternoon confirming his exit from the company.

Segal posted a long thread on Twitter this afternoon confirming his exit from the company.

Advertising himself

Musk crucially had a message to advertisers too, saying he “wanted to reach out personally to share my motivation in acquiring” the social media platform.

Saying most of the speculation for why he has bought it “has been wrong”, he set the record straight saying he did it “because it is important to the future of civilisation to have a common digital town square”.

Also Read: Explainer-in-brief: Behind a Twitter takeover that looks like a soap opera

In a commitment to freedom of speech on the internet he said robust debate was needed “without resorting to violence.”

Warning about social media sometimes splintering “into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society” he criticised “much of traditional media” for having “fuelled and catered” to polarisation “in the relentless pursuit of clicks” for advertising opportunities.

Saying he bought it “to try to help humanity” he clarified he would not allow it to “become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences”.

Senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Susannah Streeter warned that Musk will face a huge challenge of maintaining and building revenue, given that the controversial opinions he appears to want to give more time to are often unpalatable to advertisers.

Rollercoaster ride

Although he initially agreed to buy the company back in April, the takeover has been on the rocks for several months.

In July, the billionaire backed out of the deal, claiming the social media firm failed to provide enough information on the number of spam and fake accounts on the platform.

As disclosed in a regulatory filing, a letter written by his law firm Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom suggested that Twitter “refused to provide the information that [he] has repeatedly requested since May 9”.

Also Read: Could Musk Back Out of $44bn Twitter Deal ?

“Based on Twitter’s behaviour to date, and the company’s latest correspondence in particular, Mr Musk believes the company is actively resisting and thwarting his information rights (and the company’s corresponding obligations) under the merger agreement,” the letter stated.

Twitter sued Elon Musk and Musk sued Twitter back, triggering a potential legal battle in Delaware courts.

The Tesla founder later backtracked on these accusations, stating that he was set on moving forward with the original offer.

This article was culled from cityam.com

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