By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Tesla CEO Elon Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Thursday, firing three key senior executives from the company as he prepared to chart a new course for the microblogging website, according to multiple reports.
In addition to closing the deal and adding a new company to his sprawling tech portfolio, Musk is taking Twitter private, paying shareholders his original inflated price of $54.20 per share.
Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust and safety, have all been fired. Twitter General Counsel Sean Edgett is also out.
The deal’s closure brings to an end legal action from Twitter seeking to force Musk to complete his offer after he attempted to renege on the deal.
Musk earlier on Thursday signalled that the deal would be closed in short order, changing his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” and penning a lengthy by Twitter standards assurance to advertisers that he does not want the website to become a “free-for-all hellscape.”
Musk has long taken a more hardline approach to free speech, but in a message geared toward advertisers, he vowed to continue Twitter’s policies of policing various content, including hate speech and threats of violence.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote, in a voice that seemed to assume the deal had already been completed.
“There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right-wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society,” he added.
Musk said that in addition to ensuring the company is run in compliance with US laws, “our platform must be warm and welcoming to all.” He had previously signalled that he would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account, though the former commander-in-chief has said he would not return to Twitter as he seeks to maintain his in-house Twitter competitor.
Concerns had mounted that should Musk purchase Twitter, he would cut back or throw out its efforts to moderate content, particularly hate speech, which would likely leave many advertisers scrambling for the exits along with everyday users.
Addressing advertisers directly, Musk said he believes “that advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you; it can show you a service or product or medical treatment that you never knew existed, but is right for you.”
“For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs,” he wrote. “Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise. To everyone who has partnered with us, I thank you. Let us build something extraordinary together.”
Legal proceedings had been ongoing in the US state of Delaware where Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick has given the parties until 5 p.m. Friday to close the deal or face a November trial to decide the outcome.