(CNN) -- Twitter has agreed to sell itself to Elon Musk in a deal valued at around $44 billion, the company said Monday.
The deal caps off a whirlwind news cycle in which the Tesla and SpaceX CEO became one of Twitter's largest shareholders, was offered and turned down a seat on its board and bid to buy the company — all in less than a month.
Under the terms of the deal, shareholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter stock they own, matching Musk's original offer and marking a 38% premium over the stock price the day before Musk revealed his stake in the company.
"The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon's proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing," Twitter independent board chair Bret Taylor said in a statement, calling the deal " the best path forward for Twitter's stockholders."
The deal is expected to close this year.
The deal comes after Musk revealed last week he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to acquire the company, an apparent turning point that forced Twitter's board to seriously consider the deal. The board met Sunday to evaluate Musk's offer.
Musk said on Twitter Monday that, "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means."
The deal would put the world's richest man in charge of one of the world's most influential social media platforms. Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to "unlock" Twitter's "extraordinary potential."
"I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy," Musk said his offer letter to Twitter. "However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company."
In the days following Musk's bid, Twitter's board put in place a so-called poison pill that would make it more difficult for Musk to acquire the company without its approval. There were also questions about whether the company would try to find another buyer.
However, CFRA senior equity analyst Angelo Zino said Monday that Twitter's board more seriously considering Musk's offer may have come "from the Board's realization that an alternative bid from a 'white knight' may be difficult to come by, especially following the decline in asset prices from social media companies in recent weeks/months."
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