Elon Musk Closes $44 Billion Twitter Acquisition, Fires Top Executives

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and founder/owner of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, has reportedly closed his controversial $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, one of the world’s largest social media platforms.

“The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted late Oct. 27.

Musk, who had an Oct. 28 deadline to close the deal (or face litigation) that would return Twitter to private ownership, reportedly fired the San Francisco-based company’s CEO Parag Agrawal; CFO Ned Segal; Vijaya Gadde, the platform’s main legal policy executive; and general counsel Sean Edgett.

Gadde is reportedly best known for pushing the executive decision to permanently ban former President Donald Trump from Twitter.

It wasn’t immediately clear who is formally running the company, but Musk has changed his moniker to “Chief Twit,” leaving little doubt who is in charge.

In a tweet to advertisers, Musk said he purchased the platform to provide “a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence.”

Musk warned that Twitter cannot become a “free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said without consequences!”

The billionaire is expected to hold a company town hall today addressing Twitter’s 7,700 global workforce.

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Elon Musk Acquiring Twitter for $44 Billion

Twitter April 25 announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion.

Musk, who owns the Tesla car company, among other assets, is paying for the transaction through a secured $25.5 billion of fully committed debt and margin loan financing, and is providing an approximately $21 billion equity
commitment. There are no financing conditions to the closing of the transaction.

Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company. Under the terms of the agreement, Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction.

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The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Mr. Musk disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter.

“The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders,” Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair, said in a statement.

Musk said the transaction underscores free speech as a bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.

“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 said. “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Twitter Board of Directors, is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Twitter Reportedly Close to Accepting Elon Musk’s $43 Billion Acquisition Offer

Social media platform Twitter is reportedly finalizing a deal that would see Tesla founder and world’s richest man Elon Musk acquire the company for $43 billion in cash. Several media reports — citing sources familiar with the situation — say the transaction, which would make Twitter a privately held platform, is in the final stages as participants iron out details. However, the transaction could still fall through.

Musk April 14 announced an unsolicited offer to acquire Twitter, which prompted the platform’s board to enact a “poison pill” anti-takeover stance that would make the deal prohibitively expensive — even for Musk. Last week, Musk announced he had secured in excess of $46 billion in funding for the deal — prompting the Twitter board to reconsider a deal that values the company’s stock at a 12.5% premium.

Musk wants to lift existing limitations on Twitter, including provisions that currently exclude former President Donald Trump and others from using the platform.

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“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 in a statement earlier this month. “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.”

Elon Musk Offers to Buy Twitter for $43 Billion in Hostile Takeover

Social media giant Twitter April 14 confirmed it has received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk to acquire all of the company’s outstanding common stock for $54.20 per share in cash, or $43 billion — a 12.5% premium on Twitter’s market capitalization.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Twitter said its board of directors would review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and all of its stockholders.

The move comes after Musk, who owns 9% of Twitter’s shares, declined to join the platform’s board.

Twitter has 186 million daily active users and 38 million users in the U.S. The platform generated a net loss of $1.1 billion on revenue of $3.7 billion revenue in 2020.

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Report: 40% of Americans Want Faster Broadband Service

In an over-the-top video world, high-speed Internet connection is a must-have. New data from BroadbandNow contends that much of the country — rural America — does not have fast-enough Internet to handle streaming video.

The high-speed Internet aggregator believes 42 million Americans (16 million households) do not have access to a broadband-level connections — nearly double the FCC’s estimates.

Indeed, the survey-based report, from more than 700 households during May, contends 40% of Americans would sign up for a faster Internet option if the option became available. About 20% of respondents are somewhat dissatisfied with the speed of their existing service, including 25% in rural areas. The national average for broadband Internet is $79 per month.

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BroadbandNow suggests upstart ISP companies such as Elon Musk’s nascent SpaceX could help fill the void through its Starlink initiative, which aims to deliver high-speed broadband connections nationwide through a “mesh network” of satellites. Musk, creator of battery-powered Tesla cars, has said that the company needs 400 operational satellites to start service in the U.S.

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“If SpaceX’s Starlink service managed to enter the market in the $60 monthly range, it could pose a substantial threat to a status quo that has existed for decades in some areas,” Tyler Cooper, editor at BroadbandNow, wrote in the report. “Offering the service for $80 to $90 would likely still be attractive for many, but if it was significantly more expensive than current options, the company (and others working on new types of connectivity) may face an uphill battle with adoption, regardless of how robust the service is.”

 

 

 

Elon Musk at E3: New Teslas to Offer Game Play, Netflix Streaming

When Elon Musk arrived at the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles, he must have felt like the man who gulped pure oxygen after living with high-altitude sickness. After dealing with countless issues and enduring Congressional scrutiny with both Tesla and Space X, he spent a day stepping back into his roots — video gaming.

“I’ve always been into video games,” he told a packed house at the Microsoft Novo Theatre. “The first time I programmed I was 10 or 11, but it was published when I was 12. It was called Blaster.” That drew a lot of nods from gamers now in their 40s and 50s. “You’re a space fighter, blasting and fighting space aliens. I wrote the game, and did graphics and sound. There was no one else to do it, but it was a very simple game. I want to emphasize that.”

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Musk and video games have both come a long way since his first programming efforts. He appeared at E3 to announce a pair of video games coming to Tesla vehicles, Beach Buggy Racing 2 and Fallout Shelter, in conjunction with video game shop Bethesda Softworks. “I’ve been a fan of Bethesda Softworks games for a long time,” he said. “I’ve played the Fallout 3 game a lot. I’ve explored every corner of that game. Also played Fallout 4; that’s great. I’m such a Fallout fan that one time, I was having a birthday, and I wanted the statue of Vault Boy in my house.”

Fallout Shelter will bring the “Fallout” series to Tesla screens. It will join the run-and-gun video game Cuphead and Beach Buggy Racing 2 as games in development. They will be available to every Tesla model with an over-the-air software update. Beach Buggy Racing 2 includes quite a feature — direct wiring to the car’s braking and steering. “If you have a racing game, and you have a steering wheel — sitting right there…” Musk teased. “The way we have it, the brake is wired in. The scroll wheel is wired to the gas pedal. Sitting on the brake if you’re stationary isn’t a problem; sitting on the gas might be.”

To that point, Musk and Bethesda Softworks chief Todd Howard emphasized that the games will only work when the Tesla is parked. ““You have to park the car to play these. The fun police make us park the car,” Musk chuckled. Later, he added, “Our games come from a question we all ask at Tesla: ‘How can we make being in the car the most fun?’ First, we look for things other people don’t have. If you just park somewhere, waiting for someone or on a road trip, it would be pretty cool to go to the car screen and play.”

The Tesla software, screen and controller are designed to house and stream a variety of video games, according to Musk. “You can play almost all the Tari games in the car,” he explained. “You can connect Xbox or PS4 controller and have some pretty good control feedback. We have some cool games, and the more people like them, the more games we’ll create and the higher up game development will be on our list. We’ll also put games into an archive you can screen-tap to download. Besides video games, we’re going to enable passengers to stream videos through the browser, watch Netflix or YouTube, if the car is parked and connected to wi-fi, say at a supercharging station.

“Our games come from a question we all ask at Tesla: ‘How can we make being in the car the most fun?’ First, we look for things other people don’t have. If you just park somewhere, waiting for someone or on a road trip, it would be pretty cool to go to the car screen and play,” he added.

Today, many compare Musk to Thomas Edison; in fact, some consider him the most important inventor on the planet since Edison. The founder of PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City sits on the front lines of sustainable driving, space exploration and green energy — and is pushing the envelope on Mars exploration. “We’re even looking at developing video game platforms for our space capsule, for crews going to Mars,” he said. “That’s going to be a long flight out there.”

However, he is not a profiteering late-adopter to video games. He’s more of a video game pioneer. He is very clear that without falling into video games as a boy, we never would have seen the larger products and technologies of his visionary mind.

“I thought seriously about creating video games as a career, for sure. Seemed like it would be sort of fun,” he recalled. “I even worked at a gaming start-up, strangely enough called Rocket Science. Fate loves irony, right? I worked there programming games, about 25 years ago. The reason I got interested in technology was video games. I wouldn’t have been as interested in computers and technology if not for video games. They’re a powerful force for getting kids in technology. The positive effects for kids, in this day and age, are far more positive than people realize. When we’re interviewing someone for a software engineering role at Tesla or Space X, we’ll ask, ‘How did you get started programming?’ More often than not, they’ll say, ‘video games.’

“Many of the best software engineers have spent parts of their careers at video game houses. If people tried to create realistic graphics using very little computer power, that’s a hard problem. So a lot of people had to write really tight code and come up with really great ideas to do that. Problem solving in video games transfers to a lot of software engineering skills, and demand is going to keep growing for that.”

Robert Yehling is an award-winning author, the founding editor of Innovation & Tech Today, and Executive Editor of STEM Today magazine.