Tesla CEO Elon Musk reached an agreement Monday to buy Twitter for $44 billion cash.
The sale will transform the social media giant from a publicly traded company to a privately held one, owned solely by Musk, the world’s richest person.
Discussions over the deal accelerated after Musk unveiled a financing package last week to back the acquisition.
Twitter shares were up more than 5% in trading Monday afternoon.
Musk, who is also CEO of rocket developer SpaceX, has said Twitter needs to become a private company so that it can realize its potential for free speech. He has described himself as a “free-speech absolutist.”
The businessman, who is a prolific tweeter with more than 83 million followers, tweeted Monday, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet Monday, “Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world.”
“Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important,” he added.
Musk has proposed relaxing Twitter’s content restrictions, which could include rules that suspended former President Donald Trump’s account.
Earlier Monday, Republicans cheered news that Musk was close to reaching a deal with Twitter.
“Hey, @elonmusk it’s a great week to free @realDonaldTrump,” tweeted the House Republican Conference.
Twitter banned Trump’s account after the U.S. Capitol was stormed on Jan. 6, 2021, citing a risk of more violence.
Musk is the world’s richest person according to Forbes magazine, with a nearly $279 billion fortune.
Some information in this report comes from the Associated Pres and Reuters.