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Elon Musk is Officially Buying Twitter

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Elon Musk is buying Twitter, according to the company, which announced the transaction Monday.

Musk will buy the company for $54.20 per share of common stock in a deal valued at about $44 billion.

Twitter, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, will become a private company following the deal, which is expected to be completed this year.

“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,” Musk said in a statement.

“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.

Stockholders will get $54.20 per share of the common stock that they own when the Musk and Twitter complete the transaction. That represents a share price 38 percent higher than the first day of April, when Musk revealed his approximately 9 percent ownership in the company.

Twitter’s board of directors unanimously approved the purchase.

“The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing,” Twitter’s independent Board Chair Bret Taylor said in a statement.

“The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders,” Taylor said.

Twitter’s share price closed at $51.70 on Monday on the Nasdaq stock exchange, up $2.77 or 5.66 percent above Friday’s closing price.

Some people are concerned about the purchase.

“We should be worried about any powerful central actor, whether it’s a government or any wealthy individual — even if it’s an ACLU member — having so much control over the boundaries of our political speech online,” wrote the American Civil Liberties Union on Twitter Monday after the deal was announced.

The ACLU noted in another tweet, “In today’s world, a small handful of private tech companies — including Twitter — play a profound and unique role in enabling our right to express ourselves online.”

Last week when Musk revealed his offer for Twitter, California State University East Bay professor of communication and history Nolan Higdon said, Musk’s bid is just the latest effort of a corporate oligarch to take over a share of public discourse, which makes “democracy less and less likely to work as it’s designed.”

Higdon cited other “oligarchs” such as News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, among other publications, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post.

“This is a profit-making opportunity for them and adds to their power,” Higdon said.

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