Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion

Musk, the world's richest person according to a tally by Forbes, is negotiating to buy Twitter in a personal capacity and Tesla is not involved in the deal.

 Elon Musk Twitter account is seen through Twitter logo in this illustration taken, April 25, 2022. (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS ILLUSTRATION)
Elon Musk Twitter account is seen through Twitter logo in this illustration taken, April 25, 2022.
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS ILLUSTRATION)

Elon Musk clinched a deal to buy Twitter TWTR.N for $44 billion on Monday in a transaction that will shift control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the world's richest person.

Twitter may announce the $54.20-per-share deal later on Monday once its board has met to recommend the transaction to Twitter shareholders, the sources said. It is always possible that the deal collapses at the last minute, the sources added.

Musk, the world's richest person according to a tally by Forbes, is negotiating to buy Twitter in a personal capacity and Tesla is not involved in the deal.

Twitter has not been able to secure so far a "go-shop" provision under its agreement with Musk that would allow it to solicit other bids once the deal is signed, the sources said. Still, Twitter would be allowed to accept an offer from another party by paying Musk a break-up fee, the sources added.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Twitter and Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

TWITTER’S LOGO is seen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. (credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)TWITTER’S LOGO is seen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. (credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)

Twitter shares were up 4.5% in pre-market trading in New York on Monday at $51.15.

White House, former Pres. Trump comment on the move

The White House declined on Monday to comment on billionaire Elon Musk's deal to buy Twitter Inc TWTR.N, but said that President Joe Biden has long been concerned about the power of social media platforms.

"Our concerns are not new," said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, adding that the platforms need to be held accountable.

"The president has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation."

But she said the White House would not comment on an individual transaction.

Former US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he will not return to the social media platform Twitter even if his account is reinstated.

 Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to boost Ohio Republican candidates ahead of their May 3 primary election, at the county fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. April 23, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Gaelen Morse) Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to boost Ohio Republican candidates ahead of their May 3 primary election, at the county fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. April 23, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Gaelen Morse)

Trump told Fox News that he will formally join his own Truth Social startup over the next seven days, as planned.

"I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth," Trump told Fox News. "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 said.

Free speech and financing 

Musk has said Twitter needs to be taken private to grow and become a genuine platform for free speech.

The deal would come just four days after Musk unveiled a financing package to back the acquisition. This led Twitter's board to take the deal more seriously and many shareholders to ask the company not to let the opportunity for a deal to slip away, Reuters reported on Sunday.

The sale would represent an admission by Twitter that its new chief executive Parag Agrawal, who took the helm in November, is not making enough traction in making the company more profitable, despite being on track to meet ambitious financial goals the company set for 2023. Twitter's shares were trading higher than Musk's offer price as recently as November.

Musk's negotiating tactics - making one offer and sticking with it - resembles how another billionaire, Warren Buffett, negotiates acquisitions. Musk did not provide any financing details when he first disclosed his offer for Twitter, making the market skeptical about its prospects.