Why is Elon Musk buying Twitter? Billionaire's net worth and Twitter stock

Elon Musk has reached an agreement to buy Twitter for about 44 billion dollars (£34.5 billion), promising a more lenient touch to policing content on the platform.

Despite initial opposition to Musk taking over the company, the company looks set to change hands after Musk filed details of funding for his bid which is thought to be around $43bn.

Twitter’s decision to enter talks marked a huge shift by the social media company – here's everything you need to know about the deal.

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Why does Elon Musk want to buy Twitter?

Musk has said that his interest in the social media giant is primarily motivated by an overhaul of its content-moderation policies and promoting what he described as free speech on the platform.

Musk said in a letter to the board this month that Twitter is “the platform for free speech around the world” but cannot achieve this “societal imperative” in its current form and “needs to be transformed as a private company”.

Mr Musk said in a joint statement with Twitter that he wants to make the service “better than ever” with new features, such as getting rid of automated “spam bots” and making its algorithms open to the public to increase trust.

Twitter’s board is negotiating with Elon Musk over his bid to buy the social media platform and a deal could be announced as early as Monday, according to media reports.

“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,” he said.

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Elon Musk to join Twitter's board after taking 9% stake

How much has Elon Musk bought Twitter for?

On April 14, Mr Musk announced an offer to buy the social media platform for 54.20 dollars (£42.20) per share, or about 43 billion dollars (£33.5 billion), but did not say at the time how he would finance the acquisition.

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Musk has been increasing his stake in Twitter. The deal to buy Twitter was cemented roughly two weeks after the billionaire first revealed a 9% stake in the platform. Mr Musk said last week that he had lined up 46.5 billion dollars in financing to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company’s board to negotiate a deal.

Twitter said the transaction was unanimously approved by its board of directors.

The 11-member board includes Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, who has been planning to step down from the board in May.

Twitter said the deal is expected to close sometime this year and is subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders and regulators.

Shares of Twitter Inc rose 6% on Monday to 52 dollars per share. On April 14, Mr Musk announced an offer to buy the social media platform for 54.20 dollars per share.

While the stock is up sharply since Mr Musk made his offer, it is well below the high of 77 dollars per share it reached in February 2021.

Twitter share price

Following the purchase, the Twitter share price has increased by around 5 points since news of the takeover gained momentum.

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Reaction to Twitter sale to Elon Musk – Will users quit Twitter?

The move has divided social media users, including US senator Elizabeth Warren, who described the deal as “dangerous for democracy”.

She tweeted: “Billionaires like Elon Musk play by a different set of rules than everyone else, accumulating power for their own gain.

“We need a wealth tax and strong rules to hold Big Tech accountable.”

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil said she would quit Twitter writing: “Ah he got Twitter. I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet,” she wrote, alongside pictures of a dog.

“I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny. Best of luck.”

Not everyone was convinced people will stay away for long, however.

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‘News reporter’ character Jonathan Pie wrote: “To everyone saying they’ll leave Twitter if Elon Musk owns it, I’m 98.9 per cent certain you won’t.

“Bearing in mind that not posting for a week or two doesn’t really count as ‘leaving’.”

Musk himself wrote on the day his purchase was announced: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means”.

How much is Elon Musk worth?

Elon Musk is the richest man in the world. According to Forbes he is worth $269.7bn (£212bn), owning 21% of electric vehicle company Tesla with Musk’s company, SpaceX, valued at £74bn.

He was the 35th richest person in the world at the start of 2020, before surpassing Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, reaching the top of the tree in January 2021.

Musk, who grew up in South Africa, before moving to Canada at the of age 17, had roles at Paypal where he served as CEO and has a founded numerous other companies.

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Much of his money is tied up in Tesla stock — he owns about 17% of the electric car company, according to FactSet, which is valued at more than one trillion dollars — and SpaceX, his privately held space company. It is unclear how much cash Mr Musk has.

Mr Musk began making his fortune in 1999 when he sold Zip2, an online mapping and business directory, to Compaq for 307 million dollars. He used his share to create what would become PayPal, an internet service that bypassed banks and allowed consumers to pay businesses directly. It was sold to eBay for 1.5 billion dollars in 2002.

That same year, Mr Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, after finding that cost constraints were limiting Nasa’s interplanetary travel. The company eventually developed cost-effective reusable rockets.

In 2004, Mr Musk was courted to invest in Tesla, then a start-up trying to build an electric car. Eventually he became CEO and led the company to astronomical success as the world’s most valuable car maker and largest seller of electric vehicles.