Elon Musk buys Twitter for about $44 billion.

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Billionaire Elon Musk has reached a deal to acquire Twitter for about $44 billion cash in a transaction that will shift control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the world’s richest person.

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

Elon Musk 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.

Musk said in a joint statement with Twitter that he wants to make the service “better than ever” with new features, such as getting rid of automated “spam bots” and making its algorithms open to the public to increase trust.

“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.

Shares of Twitter jumped as high as 6.45% following the news.

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