Now it’s official: Elon Musk has completed the purchase of the short message service Twitter for about $ 44 billion. Twitter informed the US securities regulator SEC of the delisting on Friday, thereby confirming the completion of the acquisition.
According to consistent US media reports, Musk fired senior executives on Thursday, including former corporate boss Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal. Reportedly, Musk initially wanted to take over the top post himself. Only after some time could he give the job to someone else, it was said. Musk tweeted that evening, referring to the company’s logo, “The bird is free.” He already heads the electric car maker Tesla and the rocket company SpaceX.
Strengthen free speech?
According to the star entrepreneur, buying Twitter is about strengthening freedom of expression. However, critics fear that the tone on the internet platform will be brutalized and are concerned that the change of ownership will lead to more rampant hate speech, hate speech and disinformation. The federal government said Friday that it wanted to follow developments on Twitter “very closely” after the acquisition of Musk.
EU Commissioner for Industry Thierry Breton warned Musk in a tweet to turn the SMS service into an unregulated platform: “In Europe, the bird will fly according to our EU rules”.
Bumpy road to takeover
Musk had actually reached an agreement about the acquisition with Twitter in April. However, in July, he voided the agreement due to alleged misrepresentations about fake accounts. Twitter then sued for compliance with the purchase agreement. At the beginning of October, the head of the American electric car maker Tesla surprisingly renewed his offer to buy, suspending the legal proceedings.
However, the judge in charge had given the parties to the dispute a deadline to finalize the deal by October 28.
withdrawal is no longer possible
Musk had been trying to call off the expensive acquisition for months. However, after it became increasingly clear that his chances in the legal process were rather poor, he gave up his resistance. As a result, the troubled company is now owned by a man of all people who in recent months has publicly criticized its management and cast doubt on the company’s value. It has become clear in recent days that Musk has come to terms with his new role as Twitter owner.
Takeover also politically explosive
The fact that the world’s richest person, according to billionaire rankings like the “Forbes” list, is now pulling the strings in the online network is also politically explosive. Musk has already spoken out in favor of the reinstatement of former US President Donald Trump on the platform.
In May, Musk called Trump’s ban on Twitter following his condolences to supporters who stormed the Washington Capitol on January 6, 2021 “morally wrong and just plain stupid.” A return to the influential network would come just in time for Trump to run for president in the 2024 presidential election.
Sales have recently fallen
Meanwhile, Twitter has been struggling with business for quite some time. In view of inflation and economic risks, advertisers are holding back on the online advertising market, by far the most important source of income for the internet platform. Twitter has not yet presented any figures for the past third quarter. However, in the prior quarter, sales declined slightly and suffered a loss of $270 million. The number of daily active users increased from 229 million to 237.8 million.
At this point, one can only speculate on exactly how the service will change under the tech billionaire’s leadership. In recent months, Musk has announced that he will bring more freedom of speech on Twitter, fight fake accounts and automated posting bots, expand the service into an all-purpose app similar to WeChat in China, and permanently suspend the US president. Donald Trump back on the platform. The latter is easy – not much is known about how Musk intends to get to the rest.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.