(AP) – Billionaire Elon Musk has reached an agreement to acquire Twitter for approximately $44 billion, the company said.

The outspoken Tesla CEO, the world’s wealthiest person, has said he wants to buy Twitter because he thinks it’s not living up to its potential as a platform for “free speech.”

He says it needs to be transformed as a private company in order to build trust with users and do better at serving what he calls the “societal imperative” of free speech.

Twitter said it will become a privately held company after the sale is closed.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

(AP) – Twitter’s board is negotiating with Tesla CEO Elon Musk over his bid to buy the social media platform and a deal could be announced as early as Monday.

Musk has offered more than $40 billion to privatize the platform and pledged to be more lenient when it comes to policing users’ speech.

Twitter and Musk negotiated over his bid to buy the social media platform, The New York Times reported, less than two weeks after the billionaire first revealed a massive stake.

Musk said last week that he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company’s board to negotiate a deal.

Shares of Twitter rose 5 percent on Monday.