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Elon Musk - latest: Tesla boss ‘will become Twitter CEO when deal is complete’ as billionaires throw cash behind takeover

The billionaire has received $7.1 billion from supporters

Tesla boss Elon Musk has pledged to support free speech and ‘defeat the spam bots’ after Twitter takeover
Tesla boss Elon Musk has pledged to support free speech and ‘defeat the spam bots’ after Twitter takeover (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has received $7.1 billion from nearly two dozen investors including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and others to fund his purchase of Twitter.

The news comes after the billionaire sold nearly $8.5bn worth of Tesla stock.

Qatar - giving $375,000,000 - and Saudi Arabia will also be financing the deal.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the board at Kingdom Holding Company and one of Twitter’s largest backers, said he is rolling over his current investment after initially criticising Mr Musk.

Mr Musk will pay $54.20 cash per share for the San Francisco-based company, which will now be taken private before the end of October.

The board announced it had reached a deal with Mr Musk on Monday, and that it represented a 38 per cent premium from Twitter’s closing price on 1 April, the day before the world’s richest person made his move for the company by announcing his nine per cent stake.

Mr Musk will likely make some significant changes to the social media platform, having made several hints in recent months about what his intentions are. It comes after Musk’s friend Dorsey stepped down as CEO and Parag Agrawal took over.

Changes could include a new CEO, worker layoffs and even monetising tweets by charging publishers to embed them, according to some reports.

You can follow all the latest news and developments right here.


“If Twitter acquisition completes, company will be super focused on hardcore software engineering, design, infosec & server hardware”, Mr Musk tweeted.

Adam Smith6 May 2022 16:36

Elon Musk says attempt to buy Twitter is nothing to do with Donald Trump

The denial comes after widespread speculation that the the former president’s ban from the platform is part of the reason that Mr Musk wants to control it.

Mr Musk was specifically responding to a report from the New York Post, which claimed that Mr Trump had “quietly encouraged” him to buy the company. It cited the chief executive of Truth Social, the much smaller social network on which Mr Trump now posts following his ban.

“This is false,” Mr Musk wrote. “I’ve had no communication, directly or indirectly, with Trump, who has publicly stated that he will be exclusively on Truth Social.”

Adam Smith6 May 2022 16:16

Elon Musk’s Twitter bid reportedly investigated by the FTC

Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter is reportedly being investigated by the FTC.

The agency will decide in the next month whether it will do an in-depth antitrust probe of the proposed transaction. This could delay the deal by months.

Antitrust experts have said there is little chance that it would be found illegal under antitrust law, but the FTC is already investigating Musk’s initial purchase of a nine per cent stake in Twitter.

The Open Markets Institute has been criticial of the deal, saying that giving an already powerful man “direct control over one of the world’s most important platforms for public communications and debate” is concerning.

It also cited Musk’s ownership of Starlink as a concern.

Adam Smith6 May 2022 11:44

Binance’s chief executive on supporting Elon Musk

Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s billionaire founder, has said that he is “excited to be able to help Elon realize a new vision for Twitter.”

The web3 advocate, which seeks to incorporate digital tokens like NFTs and blockchain technologies into other applications, said that the company told CNBC it hopes “to be able to play a role in bringing social media and web3 together and broadening the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology.”

However, formerchief executive Jack Dorsey has been critical of web3 and venture capitalists.

Adam Smith5 May 2022 18:00

Elon Musk’s childhood in South Africa

Mr Musk’s childhood was seeped in misinformation, a report from The New York Times describes, detailing newspapers that would arrive with sections blacked out and nightly news bulletins that valourised those fighting for the apartheid system..

“We were really clueless as white South African teenagers. Really clueless,” said Melanie Cheary, a classmate of Mr Musk’s said during the two years he spent at Bryanston High School, where Black people were reportedly rarely seen other than in service of white families.

In a blog post before the filing, Tesla called the suit misguided and said the agency “has never once raised any concern” about its workplace practices following a three-year investigation.

Adam Smith5 May 2022 17:30

However one of Mr Musk’s main proposals, opening up the Twitter algorithm, is confusing.

“This one is a head-scratcher to me,” Mr Roetter said, because the algorithms in itself will not reveal much.

Twitter’s ranking algorithms look at billions of examples of content in an attempt to predict how users might react to other content.

“It doesn’t say, if you are Republican, then you’re banned,” Mr Roetter said. “There’s just nothing like that.”

Adam Smith5 May 2022 16:30

Mr Musk will find it difficult to have a free speech approach “that’s going to make everybody happy,” the former Twitter head said, but was more supportive of the idea of subscription fees.

“It’s a really interesting idea,” Mr Roetter said. “If you don’t want a bunch of what you think of as low-value activity to happen, if you charge more than the value that you think people are extracting from it, it should go away.”

Adam Smith5 May 2022 16:00

Elon Musk will be Twitter’s chief executive when he buys it

It gave no indication of whether the information had come from Mr Musk or Twitter’s side of the deal.

Mr Musk has been critical of the current Twitter management, and has suggested that disagreements with its current leadership about how the social network is run are at least part of the reason for him to buy the company.

In his initial letter making an offer for the company, sent to it chairman of the board Bret Taylor, Mr Musk said that he does not “have confidence in management”. That lack of confidence would lead him to “reconsider his position as a shareholder” if he is not able to buy the company, he said then.

Adam Smith5 May 2022 15:47

Mr Musk’s aim to defeat spam bots may prove more challenging.

Mr Roetter told CNBC that Twitter would need to build a classifier that looks for characteristics of bots and then bans them.

The classifier would either be tuned to be aggressive, where it could also ban human “false positives,” or be less aggressive and allow some bots to slip through.

“I think you should do it,” Mr Roetter said. “But everyone should be prepared, there is no perfect spam bot classifier.”

Adam Smith5 May 2022 15:30

Twitter’s former head of engineering comments on Musk’s planned takeover

Alex Roetter, Twitter’s former head of engineering, gave CNBC his views on Elon Musk’s proposed changes on the Big Technology podcast.

Mr Musk said he wanted to “authenticate all humans”, something that the company has been weighing internally but has always ran into issues around. Twitter has opened, and closed, its verification program numerous times.

Pure anonymity, Mr Roetter said, “fosters the worst parts of speech online”, so is in favour of Mr Musk’s program. However, critics have pointed out that anonymity allows people the ability to speak freely - especially for whistleblowers or people in repressive countries - something that ‘free speech absolutionist’ Mr Musk has advocated for.

Adam Smith5 May 2022 15:00

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