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Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter clears the federal government's antitrust review

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Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images

Elon Musk — the eccentric billionaire and CEO of Tesla — is inching closer and closer to purchasing Twitter as the regulatory waiting period for completing the purchase under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements (HSR) Act of 1976 officially expired on Friday.

The HSR Act requires companies to give advance notice of transactions above a certain threshold to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The FTC and DOJ subsequently have 30 days from the initial notification of the intended purchase to pursue an investigation of the transaction to determine whether any additional information is needed to assess the legality of the purchase.

Fox Business reported that neither the FTC nor DOJ requested additional information from Musk or any of his affiliated companies.

While the expiration of the HSR’s waiting period has been satisfied, Twitter’s current leadership emphasized that Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform is subject to outstanding customary closing conditions, including shareholder approvals and any applicable regulatory approvals.

Musk’s deal is expected to turn Twitter into a privately held company after acquiring the company for $54.20 per share. It is currently expected to close in 2022.

Initially, Musk planned to finance his purchase of Twitter with $21 billion in established equity and $25.5 billion in loans from third-party financiers.

Approximately $12.5 billion in margin loan financing was pledged against the value of Musk’s shares in Tesla. The margin loan financing was later reduced from $12.5 billion to $6.25 billion, while his equity financing increased to $27.25 billion from $21 billion.

Musk has since pledged an additional $6.25 billion in equity which brings the total portion of equity-based financing to $33.5 billion, summarily eliminating the need for margin loan financing. Musk has also been in talks with Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey about securing additional financing for the acquisition of Twitter.

The latest developments include Musk suggesting that the acquisition deal should temporarily be put on hold as he and his advisers await calculations supporting the social media giant’s internal estimate that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of all Twitter users.

Despite, for all intents and purposes, moving forward with the purchase of Twitter, Musk recently expressed concern over the state of the American economy.

Musk recently stated that he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy which led him to call for a pause in hiring Tesla employees and a layoff 10% of the company’s current staff.

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