Elon Musk finally completed his $44 billion Twitter takeover deal, firing the company’s CEO and financial chief and ending a lengthy tug-of-war with its board of directors just before a key deadline, according to a source close to the situation.
Musk took the struggling social network private late Thursday, ousting Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It wasn’t immediately clear who would replace them.
Agrawal and Segal were in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, sources said. Musk had accused them of misleading him and Twitter investors over the number of fake accounts on the social media platform.
Musk also fired Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top legal and policy executive, and Sean Edgett, general counsel, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gadde had been criticized by Musk for blocking links to the New York Post’s coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop. She also made the decision to permanently ban then-President Donald Trump from the site, according to Axios.
Reps for Musk and Twitter officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Musk, who also owns SpaceX, took to Twitter shortly after news of the deal broke to post images of his Falcon rocket launch.
The mogul plans to hold a companywide town hall at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters Friday.
The agreement between Musk’s legal team and Twitter’s board was reached less than a day before the 5 p.m. Friday deadline imposed by Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick. Without a deal, Musk and Twitter would have clashed on opposite sides of a November trial.
Under the deal’s terms, Musk will buy Twitter at the originally-agreed price of $54.20 per share. Musk has vowed to take the company private and reshape the platform with an emphasis on free speech.
Musk signaled throughout the week that he intended to finalize the takeover deal. The eccentric billionaire changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” and posted a video of himself barging into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a sink.
Musk’s involvement has renewed hand-wringing from Twitter employees who fear he will enact sweeping layoffs and other cost-cutting measures while reshaping the company’s business.
The Tesla boss took steps to assure skeptics. During his office visit, Musk said he had no intention of slashing 75% of Twitter’s workforce upon taking control, as the Washington Post had reported.
Musk also posted a lengthy message to Twitter’s advertisers, writing that he had no intention of turning the social media platform into a “free-for-all hellscape.” Critics had suggested that Musk’s aggressive stance on free speech would enable extremism voices to thrive on the platform.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk said.
Musk’s co-investors, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, are contributing $7.1 billion toward the deal. Banks including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are covering $13 billion in debt financing.
During Tesla’s earnings call earlier this month, Musk admitted that he was “obviously overpaying” to buy the firm, but added he felt the “long-term potential for Twitter is an order of magnitude greater than its current value.”
While Musk’s long-term plans for Twitter are still murky, the executive has called the company an “accelerant” for his goal of creating an “everything app” called X. The app is widely expected to mirror the Tencent-owned social media app WeChat, which offers a wide array of services ranging from payments to food delivery and ride-sharing.
Earlier this month, Musk said the acquisition of Twitter “probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong.”
The closed deal followed a months-long saga that began in April when Musk disclosed that he had taken a sizable stake in Twitter. By April, Twitter’s board had accepted Musk’s offer to buy the company for $54.20 per share, or $44 billion.
Musk later attempted to back out of the agreement, citing concerns about the number of spam bots within Twitter’s user base and accusing the company of withholding key information about the issue.
In July, Twitter’s board sued Musk in Delaware Chancery Court in an effort to enforce the original $44 billion deal by court order. As the trial approached, Musk reversed course again and signaled that he would honor the original agreement.
With Post wires