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Elon Musk nets Twitter for $44 bn

Twitter said it’ll become a privately-held company after the sale is closed in 3-6 mths; CEO Parag Agrawal voices concern over layoffs; Former US Prez Trump says he has no plans to rejoin Twitter after Musk deal and will focus on his own platform ‘Truth Social’

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San Francisco: Billionaire Elon Musk has reached an agreement to acquire Twitter for approximately $44 billion, the company said.

The outspoken Tesla CEO, the world's wealthiest person, has said he wants to buy Twitter because he thinks it's not living up to its potential as a platform for 'free speech.' He says it needs to be transformed as a private company in order to build trust with users and do better at serving what he calls the societal imperative of free speech. Twitter said it will become a privately held company after the sale is closed. Earlier this month, Musk offered to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share. On Tuesday, Twitter Inc shares were trading at $51.70 on NYSE.

CEO Parag Agrawal, who took over the helm of the social networking giant just five months ago, told employees that he estimated the deal might take three to six months to complete. "In this moment, we operate Twitter as we always have," he said,

Uncertainty now hangs over the fate of Twitter employees, who voiced concern over layoffs in the wake of the acquisition by Musk, he said.

"Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world," its CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet. "Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important." Musk describes himself as a "free-speech absolutist," although he hasn't been exactly clear what he means by that. In a recent TED interview, the billionaire said he'd like to see Twitter err on the side of allowing speech instead of moderating it. He said he'd be "very reluctant" to delete tweets and would generally be cautious about permanent bans. He also acknowledged that Twitter would have to abide by national laws governing speech in markets around the world. Musk himself, though, regularly blocks social media users who have criticized him or his company and has used the platform to bully reporters who have written critical articles about him or his company. Twitter's board at first enacted an anti-takeover measure known as a poison pill that could have made a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive. But when Musk outlined the financial commitments he'd lined up to back his offer of $46.5 billion — and no other bidders emerged — the board opened negotiations with him.

Meanwhile, responding to the deal, former President Donald Trump said that he has no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account is reinstated following Elon Musk's agreement to buy the social media giant for roughly $44 billion.

Trump told Fox News that he will instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which has been mired in problems since its launch earlier this year. "I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth," Trump was quoted telling the network.

I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means

—Elon Musk, Tesla titan & world's richest man

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