Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter closed on Thursday according to several media reports citing anonymous sources, even as the company itself and Musk kept mum on the matter.
Reports surfaced earlier on Thursday that several members of Twitter’s senior leadership had been summarily fired, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and head of legal Vijaya Gadde. Sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that Musk had completed the deal on Thursday, one day before a court imposed deadline.
The abrupt purging of top executives and the lack of any official update from Twitter regarding the status of the acquisition appeared to bring to an end, in fitting fashion, one of the most bizarre deals in corporate history.
Musk agreed to buy the social networking site in April for $54.20 per share, but changed his mind and sought to back out of the deal a couple of months later as the markets suffered a sharp decline.
Musk argued that Twitter had misinformed him about the amount of fake “bot” users on the platform, claiming without evidence that the number of bots was significantly higher than Twitter’s 5% estimate. Twitter then sued Musk in Delaware Chancery Court to force him to close the deal.
Throughout the process Musk taunted Twitter executives, firing off tweets accusing them of political bias and poor management. At one point Musk suggested turning Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter. On another occasion he responded to CEO Agrawal with a poop emoji.
With roughly 240 million daily users, Twitter is one of the most influential social media services, used by politicians, celebrities, activists, and business moguls to announce news, share information and make jokes.
The sale to Musk, the world’s richest person and the CEO of two other companies — electric car maker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX — means that Twitter will become a privately held company owned by Musk.
Musk’s ownership of Twitter has raised concerns inside and outside the company regarding his plans. The 51-year-old has said he intends to loosen Twitter’s rules about acceptable speech on the service, including potentially overturning the lifetime ban on former president Donald Trump, and that he intended to layoff 75% of the company’s staff.
In a message to Twitter advertisers that Musk tweeted earlier on Thursday, he wrote that he was buying Twitter “because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of healthy beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”
“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk wrote.
Twitter representatives did not return requests for comment on the status of the acquisition.