Elon Musk Twitter deal closes, CEO fired


SAN FRANCISCO – Elon Musk became Twitter’s owner late Thursday when his $44 billion deal to take over the company closed, marking a new era for one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

As one of his first moves, he fired several top executives at Twitter, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. One of them confirmed that the deal had ended.

CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust and security, were all fired, according to the people. Sean Edgett, the company’s general counsel, was also pushed out, one of the people said. The top executives were quickly transported from the building, the people said.

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Musk’s move late Thursday signals his intentions to make his mark as one of the world’s most influential social media companies. Musk has publicly criticized Twitter’s outgoing leadership over product decisions and content moderation, as well as saying he would restore former President Donald Trump’s account.

Still, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hell, where anything can be said without consequence!” Musk tweeted Thursday.

Closing the deal ended a months-long rollercoaster saga in which the billionaire – the world’s richest person – staged a hostile takeover to buy the company at a high price, only to renege on the deal and then enter a bitter legal battle battle with the social network.

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But in recent days, Musk seemed resigned, and even enthusiastic, about his impending ownership. He made an unexpected appearance at the company’s offices on Wednesday, wearing a wash to suggest the news that he would become an owner had to “sink in”, according to a photo he posted to his more than 100 million Twitter followers.

He plans to hold a company-wide town hall on Friday.

Neither Twitter nor its executives immediately responded to a request for comment.

The moves put the heralded entrepreneur at the helm of one of the world’s most powerful communications platforms just days before major elections in the US and Brazil.

Musk, a transportation magnate who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has given some clues about what he would do when he took over Twitter – despite having no experience running a social media service.

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He has indicated that he wants to loosen standards for policing harmful content such as misinformation and hate speech. He has also condemned so-called censorship by social media companies.

He has repeatedly criticized the company and supported online attacks against individual managers. He has told potential investors and partners that he wants to execute a financial turnaround of the company by firing nearly 75 percent of its workforce and leaning into new business opportunities, including letting people subscribe to exclusive content from popular influencers on the service.

Musk represents a different kind of social media company owner than his predecessor, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, or his now-rival Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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During his Twitter bid, he has at times positioned himself as a moderate, but has also announced plans to vote for a Republican president in 2024. He has also weighed in on geopolitical conflicts between China and Taiwan and the Ukraine war.

Inside Twitter, Musk’s arrival has been met with outrage and dismay — although Musk’s visit on Wednesday offered some hope. These hopes were quickly dashed with the resignations of senior managers, who had overcome the trust of existing employees.

The mood after Wednesday’s visit was “overall a little more positive,” said one employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the company, adding “everyone is ready to close this chapter and get to what comes next.”

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