Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Austin-based automaker Tesla, is adding a big corporate trophy to his trophy case. The board of Twitter agreed Monday, April 25 to sell the social media platform to Musk for $44 billion.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk says in a news release. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”
Musk, one of the most prolific users of Twitter as well as one of its constant critics, said April 4 that he had become Twitter’s largest shareholder. He subsequently raised the notion of buying Twitter outright before scuttling that idea. Musk’s plan to purchase Twitter then resurfaced, resulting in the just-announced deal.
San Francisco-based Twitter says Musk has lined up $25.5 billion in financing and $21 billion in investment funding to buy Twitter. The deal is set to close in 2022. With a net worth estimated by Forbes at $269.7 billion, Musk, a newly minted Texan, ranks as the world’s richest person.
Once the acquisition is completed, Twitter will change from a publicly traded company to a privately owned company.
Aside from Tesla, which operates a massive car manufacturing plant just outside Austin and relocated its headquarters to the factory last year from Northern California, Musk’s businesses include aerospace venture SpaceX, tunnel-digging outfit The Boring Co., and brain-implant maker Neuralink. He made his initial fortune as co-founder of PayPal.
Musk’s impending purchase Twitter raises the possibility that he’ll shift the social media platform’s headquarters from Northern California to Austin. Musk has railed about what he perceives to be California’s business-unfriendly environment and has praised Texas’ business-welcoming nature.