Elon Musk
Elon Musk. NASA photo

Elon Musk, owner of Hawthorne-based SpaceX and by some accounts the world’s richest man, is buying Twitter for the staggering sum of $44 billion, it was announced Monday.

“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, 50, said on Monday.

“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,” he continued. “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Musk is an active presence on the social media platform, and has criticized some of its editorial decisions in the past. Earlier this month, Musk disclosed that he’d purchased a 9.1 percent stake in the company. He was offered a seat on Twitter’s board of directors but turned it down.

“The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing,” company board chair Bret Taylor said in a statement Monday announcing the deal. “The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

Musk tweeted Monday: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

Twitter was founded in 2006 by a group that included former company CEO Jack Dorsey. It is headquartered in San Francisco.

“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,” current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted Monday.

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