UPDATE: Twitter board has accepted the takeover bid by Elon Musk nearly two weeks after the world's richest man made the hostile offer.
With the board accepting the $44 billion offer by the Tesla founder, the publicly traded social media giant will become a private company owned by Musk. The tech billionaire succeeded in winning the board's approval primarily because the shareholders found his purchase price offer of $54.20 per-share too sweet to be turned down.
"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 ... 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 in a statement.
Twitter is all set to accept Elon Musk's offer, and an announcement could come as early as Monday, Reuters has reported. The tech billionaire had offered $43 billion for Twitter 10 days ago but the all-cash deal was rejected by Twitter's board.
With shareholder pressure mounting there were reports over the weekend that the microblogging site's board was reconsidering the decision to rebuff the Tesla founder's offer.
The Reuters report says the board has come around to reversing the original decision and the $54.20-per-share deal is all but accepted after Musk reiterated that it was his "best and final" offer for the social media company.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the two sides met on Sunday to discuss Musk's bid for the company. There is no guarantee that they will close a deal, but they seem to be making some progress.
Unlocking Twitter's Potential
The tech billionaire had said he wanted 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," he said in a filing with the US financial regulator.
Musk also said Twitter needed changes to meet the social goals. "Twitter will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form" he said, adding that becoming a private company will help realize this goal.
What Will Change Now?
There is a universal agreement that Musk will add an edit button on Twitter. He had floated a Twitter poll earlier this month asking his followers if they need an edit button. With Twitter settling into Musk's hands, an edit button on the platform is nearly a foregone conclusion.
Musk would also open up Twitter's algorithm to make the platform more transparent. Musk had said in March that he preferred Twitter's algorithm to be open-source. He reiterated this need in the press statement issued after the board accepted his takeover bid.
More importantly, free speech will return to Twitter under Musk's watch. Musk had held the view that the censorship of content on the platform ran against the basic grain of the free speech principles. "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?" he had asked his followers.