Elon Musk to buy Twitter

By Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:39 AM ET, Tue April 26, 2022
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3:26 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Musk takeover raises new questions about Donald Trump's Twitter ban

From CNN's Catherine Thorbecke

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Since news of Musk’s bid to buy Twitter was made public more than a week ago, conservatives have been calling on the Tesla CEO to reinstate former President Donald Trump's account. Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter shortly after the January 6 insurrection “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” 

Musk has not publicly commented specifically on the matter, but has long been an advocate of what he dubs “free speech” on Twitter. Access to Twitter could prove to be a huge asset for Trump to reach millions of people ahead of a possible run in the 2024 presidential election.

Angelo Carusone, president of media watchdog group Media Matters for America, said in a statement Monday that a Musk takeover of Twitter means Trump “will almost certainly be replatformed in weeks.” 

3:20 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

NAACP reacts to news of Twitter purchase: "Mr. Musk: free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable."

NAACP President Derrick Johnson released a statement Monday following the news that Elon Musk purchased Twitter, saying, "Mr. Musk: free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable."

Johnson continued:

"Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech have NO PLACE on Twitter. Do not allow 45 to return to the platform. Do not allow Twitter to become a petri dish for hate speech, or falsehoods that subvert our democracy. Protecting our democracy is of utmost importance, especially as the midterm elections approach. Mr Musk: lives are at risk, and so is American democracy."
3:17 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

How the Dow reacted to news of Musk's deal with Twitter

From CNN's Nicole Goodkind

The Dow reversed its nearly 500-point intraday loss on Monday as news broke that Twitter’s board had accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company and take it private.

Twitter stock was up by about 5.5% on Monday afternoon before trading halted for the news. Musk agreed to pay $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at about $44 billion.

Other tech stocks, such as Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon, were up after the deal as US markets recovered from a steep drop last week, moving from deep red territory back towards flat numbers.

3:44 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Video of Elon Musk in 2001: I'm a little tired of the internet

From CNN Business' John General

Long before Elon Musk bought Twitter, the serial entrepreneur told CNN in a 2001 interview at his home that he was "a little tired of the internet."

At the time, Musk and his then-wife, Justice, were planning on breaking away from Silicon Valley after the success of Musk creating X.com (renamed PayPal). CNN Business dug up the original 2001 interview from our archives.

Watch here:

3:07 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Musk wants his critics to remain on Twitter

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

In a tweet midday Monday ahead of the deal announcement, Elon Musk said he hopes his critics will keep using the platform.

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

Musk has repeatedly called for the removal of some of Twitter's content moderation practices.

"Is someone you don't like allowed to say something you don't like? And if that is the case, then we have free speech," Musk said in an interview at the TED conference earlier this month.

However, Musk is also known for targeting critics of his companies, and once tried to pay off a teenager who tracked Musk's private jet on Twitter to remove his account.

3:03 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

The deal between Twitter and Elon Musk is valued at around $44 billion, the company says 

From CNN's Clare Duffy

Twitter has agreed to sell itself to Elon Musk in a deal valued at around $44 billion, the company said Monday.

The deal caps off a whirlwind news cycle in which the Tesla and SpaceX CEO became one of Twitter's largest shareholders, was offered and turned down a seat on its board and offered to buy the company — all in less than a month.

The deal comes after Musk revealed last week he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to acquire the company. Twitter's board met Sunday to evaluate Musk's offer.

The deal would put the world's richest man in charge of one of the world's most influential social media platforms. Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to "unlock" Twitter's "extraordinary potential."

"I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy," Musk said his offer letter to Twitter. "However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company."

In the days following Musk's bid, Twitter's board put in place a so-called poison pill that would make it more difficult for Musk to acquire the company without its approval. There were also questions about whether the company would try to find another buyer.

However, CFRA senior equity analyst Angelo Zino said Monday that Twitter's board more seriously considering Musk's offer may have come "from the Board's realization that an alternative bid from a 'white knight' may be difficult to come by, especially following the decline in asset prices from social media companies in recent weeks/months."

3:01 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

A Musk Twitter takeover could mean changes to the company's top leadership

From CNN's Clare Duffy

Twitter's current CEO Parag Agrawal (left) and former CEO Jack Dorsey in an undated photo.
Twitter's current CEO Parag Agrawal (left) and former CEO Jack Dorsey in an undated photo. (From Twitter)

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who has held the role only since November, may not be in the top job much longer after the company agreed to sell itself to Elon Musk.

While it's not clear exactly what kind of relationship Musk has with Agrawal, Musk does have what appears to be a long-running bromance with Twitter cofounder and former CEO Jack Dorsey (over the weekend, Musk tweeted at Dorsey complimenting his new "Block Head" title at his financial services firm, Block). And after it was announced that Agrawal would take over Twitter's CEO role from Dorsey in November, Musk tweeted a meme that equated Agrawal to former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Musk also said in his offer letter to buy Twitter that he does not "have confidence in management."

Musk is already the CEO of multiple other companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, so he may not want to be in charge of running another one (and Tesla shareholders might object to him taking over the top job at Twitter). But given his stated desire to shake up the platform, it's possible he will seek to appoint a new leader at the social media company, even if it's not him.

2:59 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

What Elon Musk wants from Twitter

Analysis from CNN's Clare Duffy

Some billionaires buy newspapers, magazines and sports teams. Elon Musk is trying to buy a social network that he himself admits might cause much of the world to hate him.

"Everyone will still blame me for everything," Musk said during an on-stage interview at the TED conference earlier this month. "If I acquire Twitter and something goes wrong, it's my fault 100%. I think there will be quite a few errors."

Sounds promising. So why exactly does the world's richest man — who is already running multiple companies with ambitious goals like taking humans to Mars — want to buy Twitter, a social media platform which, for all its benefits, is facing scrutiny for content issues like hate speech and misinformation, and also fighting to reignite user growth?

Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to "unlock" Twitter's "extraordinary potential." Others have suggested that Musk — who has 83 million followers on Twitter and has long used it to bolster his personal brand — may be more interested in boosting attention for himself.

To hear Musk tell it, the goal of his Twitter offer is nothing less than protecting civilization as we know it. "My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization," Musk said at the TED conference.

Among Musk's plans for the platform are making its algorithm open source and making it more transparent to users when, for example, a tweet has been emphasized or demoted in their feed. He also said he would want to have more lenient content moderation policies. "I think we want to be very reluctant to delete things and just be very cautious with permanent bans; timeouts are better," Musk said.

However, it's not clear that his plans are all that much different from Twitter's existing strategy. Although Twitter's algorithm is not currently open source — a term that describes code that is publicly available for anyone to see — leaders at Twitter have expressed support for moving in that direction, and the company often makes clear when it is demoting certain tweets or types of content. Twitter has also erred on the side of labeling, rather than outright removing, much of the content often considered problematic, including some types of misinformation. And it offers several short suspensions to users who violate its rules before removing them.

Read more here.