Elon Musk reportedly fired top Twitter executives when he took over the company

The $44bn deal will give the world's richest man control of an influential social media platform with more than 230 million users

After months of legal back and forth, Elon Musk has reportedly completed a $44 billion takeover of Twitter, taking over the company and firing several top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal.

Several outlets reported late Thursday that Musk had finalized the deal, ending the chaotic saga that began when the billionaire first announced his plans to buy the company in April. Although there was no official statement from Musk, he tweeted "the bird was set free".

Shortly after taking over Twitter, Musk reportedly ousted several senior figures, including Agrawal's chief executive, Ned Segal, chief financial officer, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, trust and safety policy.

Agrawal and Segal were at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters when the deal was closed and escorted out, Reuters reported.

The reported layoffs follow news that Musk plans to eliminate nearly 75% of Twitter's staff in a bid to pay off the company's debt. Musk later dismissed the report, telling employees he would not cut most of the staff.

However, feelings of confusion enveloped the deal on Thursday night, with neither Twitter nor Musk immediately confirming the firing. Musk, who previously changed his Twitter bio to "Chief Twit", made no mention of the sacking after the news broke.

Twitter is now entering a new chapter, with questions hanging over what Musk is up to with a platform that plays a huge role in the political and media landscape due to his following among journalists, commentators, celebrities, and politicians.

Musk paid a visit to the company's headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, bringing the sink and visiting with staff. He said he bought the company "to try to help humanity".

"The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital city square, where different beliefs can be debated healthily, without resorting to violence," he said in an earlier tweet. on Thursday.

Thursday's late-night shakeup comes ahead of a Friday deadline to complete the company's purchase, and will give the world's richest man control of the influential social media platform with more than 230 million users.

Musk initially attempted to walk away from a deal to buy the company in May, beginning a months-long stalemate that would go to court before Musk made dramatic changes and offered to buy the company.

Musk became embroiled in a dispute with the company over the number of spam accounts on its platform, leading him to announce in July that he was abandoning the transaction.

Twitter later sued Musk in Delaware, where the company was founded, to demand that he close the deal. Following Musk's surprise change of mind as the court date approached, a Delaware judge later gave both parties until October 28 to close the deal.

Throughout his back and forth, Musk regularly clashed with senior figures on Twitter, including Agrawal and Gadde.

Musk is expected to speak with Twitter employees in person on Friday, according to an internal memo cited in several media outlets. Despite the internal confusion and low morale over fears of layoffs or dismantling the company's culture and operations, Twitter leaders this week at least outwardly welcomed Musk's arrival and message.

Sarah Personette, the company's chief customer officer, said she had a "great discussion" with Musk on Wednesday and appeared to back up his Thursday message to advertisers.

"Our ongoing commitment to brand safety for advertisers remains unchanged," Personette tweeted Thursday. “Looking forward to the future!”

Musk has hinted that he will overturn Donald Trump's permanent ban, reflecting his stand for his self-proclaimed "absolute free speech". Civil rights groups have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the takeover, arguing that loosening content moderation rules could lead to disaster, especially as midterm elections approach in the US.

"Elon Musk's plan for Twitter will make it a more hateful septic tank, leading to irreparable real-world damage," said Stop the Deal Coalition, a non-profit collective opposing Musk's purchase. "Musk's plan will make the platform more vulnerable to security threats, rampant disinformation and extremism ahead of the midterm elections."

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