Elon Musk has completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, the company confirmed in a securities filing on Friday, putting the world̵[ads1]7;s richest man in charge of one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.
The company said the deal “became effective” on Thursday, as part of a filing announcing its intention to delist from the New York Stock Exchange, a move that happened later on Friday. The confirmation comes after a source familiar with the deal told CNN that the deal was finalized on Thursday evening.
Musk also appeared to acknowledge the takeover in a tweet Thursday night that said, “the bird has been released.”
The conclusion of the agreement removes a cloud of uncertainty that has hung over Twitter’s operations, employees and shareholders for much of the year. It also averts a court battle that would take place if the acquisition was not closed by 5pm ET on Friday.
But Musk’s takeover now raises a host of new questions for the future of the social media platform, and the many corners of society affected by it. Musk on Thursday fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Neg Segal and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, according to two sources familiar with the situation. He also fired Sean Edgett, Twitter’s general counsel, a source told CNN.
Despite multiple news outlets confirming the changes Thursday night, Twitter employees still hadn’t been formally informed of the changes by Friday morning, two Twitter employees told CNN. “Employees feel completely rudderless – half of our leaders are gone, those left are silent, and we’re watching the platform go crazy with people either happily waiting for more layoffs or pushing the boundaries of what was previously allowed,” a Twitter employee told CNN on Friday.
In a chirping On Friday, Segal confirmed his departure from the company. “Thursday marked 5 years @twitter,” he wrote. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such an incredible group of people who are building the world square for all our stakeholders. The work is not complete, but we made significant progress.”
Musk has said he plans to rethink Twitter’s content moderation policies in favor of a more maximalist approach to “free speech.” The billionaire has also said he disagrees with Twitter’s practice of permanently banning repeat offenders, raising the possibility that a number of previously banned controversial users could reappear on the platform.
Perhaps most immediately, many will be watching to see how soon Musk could put former President Donald Trump back on the platform, as he has previously said he would. Depending on the timing, such a move could have major implications for the upcoming US midterm elections, as well as the 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump said in a post on his social platform, Truth Social, on Friday that he is “very happy that Twitter is now in good hands” after Musk’s takeover. “Truth Social has become quite a phenomenon,” he said. “It also looks and works better to my eyes,” he said. Trump previously said he would remain on Truth Social rather than return to Twitter, where he had tens of millions of followers.
Later on Friday, Trump told Fox News in an interview: “I stand by Truth. I like it better, I like the way it works, I like Elon, but I’m sticking with Truth.”
By taking steps to change the platform, Musk could single-handedly upgrade the media and political ecosystem, reshape public discourse online and disrupt the nascent sphere of conservative-leaning social media properties that emerged largely in response to complaints about bans and restrictions on Twitter and other mainstream services.
Earlier this week, Musk sought to ease some concerns about how he might change the platform. He posted an open letter to Twitter advertisers, saying he doesn’t want the platform to become a “free-for-all hell where anything can be said without consequence.”
The acquisition also promises to expand Musk’s influence. The billionaire already owns, oversees or has significant stakes in companies that develop cars, rockets, robots and satellite internet, as well as more experimental ventures such as brain implants. Now he controls a social media platform that shapes how hundreds of millions of people communicate and get their news.