Elon Musk is set to become the new owner of Twitter, after a fast flurry of negotiations left the company’s board with no choice but to accept the multibillionaire’s $44 billion takeover proposal.

Under the terms of the deal, Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of the company’s common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction. The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Musk, who is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter.

Upon completion of the transaction, expected sometime in 2022, Twitter will become a privately held company.

Musk emphasized that as Twitter’s owner, he wants to expand the kind of speech the social network allows. The billionaire has criticized Twitter’s “failure” to uphold principles of free speech.

“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.

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

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

On April 14, Musk — the richest person in the world — proposed to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, and then last week claimed he had secured $46.5 billion in financing for a bid. Twitter had adopted a “poison pill” plan to fend off a potential hostile takeover. Musk earlier disclosed that he had acquired about 9.2% of Twitter’s outstanding shares, making him the largest shareholder in the company.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk, who has more than 83 million followers, tweeted Monday ahead of the company’s official announcement accepting his offer.

The transaction, which Twitter said has been unanimously approved by its board of directors, is subject to the approval of stockholders, as well as regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Twitter still plans to release Q1 2022 earnings results before the market opens this Thursday (April 28). However, “in light of the pending transaction announced today, Twitter will not hold a corresponding conference call,” the company said.