Elon Musk is now in charge of Twitter and has ousted its top three executives.
Sources on Thursday evening (early Friday morning in the UK) would not say whether all the documents relating to the agreement, initially valued at $44 billion (£38 billion), had been signed or whether they had been closed.
However, they said the South African-born entrepreneur was in charge of the business and had sacked chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal and general counsel Vijaya Gadde.
The billionaire appeared to confirm media reports of his takeover, tweeting shortly before 5am (UK time) on Friday: “The bird is free”.
His main criticism of the social media platform has been its “free speech” policy. Mr. Musk is expected to speak directly to Twitter employees on Friday if the deal is finalized, according to an internal memo quoted in multiple outlets.
Despite internal confusion and low morale over fears of layoffs or a dismantling of the company’s culture and operations, Twitter executives this week at least welcomed Mr. Musk’s arrival and messages.
A US court has given Mr Musk until Friday to close his April deal to acquire the company after he tried to walk away from the deal, leading to a legal action by Twitter to push the ‘acquisition.
On Thursday, Mr. Musk issued a statement to Twitter advertisers in which he said he was acquiring the platform because he felt it was important to have a space where “a wide range of beliefs can be debated. in a healthy way”.
It came after the SpaceX billionaire and Tesla boss posted a bizarre video of himself entering Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on Wednesday, carrying a sink next to the message “Entering Twitter headquarters – leave it flow”.
He also updated his bio on the social media platform to “Chief Twit” in another nod to the deal being done.
According to reports, Mr. Musk told staff during his visit that it was not true that he planned to cut up to 75% of staff from Twitter after acquiring the company.
It was previously reported that Mr Musk had told investors he planned to cut around three-quarters of the company’s 7,500 employees.
Staff, Twitter users and industry experts are waiting to see what Musk’s plans are for the platform.
He has previously spoken of his belief in “absolute freedom of speech” and suggested he would allow previously suspended and often controversial figures, including former US President Donald Trump, to return to the platform, which has alarmed online safety activists.
It has been reported that many employees plan to leave the company once the takeover is completed and some security activists have warned that Twitter could become an easy target for hackers following the deal and as Mr Musk restructure the company.
As part of his plans for the site, Mr. Musk also talked about removing all spam and bot accounts from the site and using Twitter as part of a so-called “everything app” called X, where users can access a wide range of accounts. range of services in one place.
It’s similar to WeChat in China, where users can access social media, online shopping and money transfer, taxi hire, restaurant reservations and more from a single app. .