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Elon Musk and Twitter

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

Elon Musk has officially closed the deal to acquire Twitter, and one of his first immediate actions was to fire three lead executives at the company.

According to reports, the billionaire had to finalize the deal by Friday (Oct. 28) per the terms of the agreement he made to purchase the social media platform. He announced the closure on Twitter with a simple message: “the bird is freed.”

He wasted no time in making changes, as Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Head of Legal Policy, Trust, and Safety Vijaya Gadde were immediately fired. Reports stated that they left the San Francisco offices soon after the decision. The move was expected, as Musk had been highly critical of higher management in the months leading up to this moment especially concerning his allegations that the audience of Twitter was dominated by false “bot” accounts.

The departures do come with a cost – the merger agreement terms contained a “Golden Parachute” clause for each of the executives who were axed. That contains a full year of healthcare paid for, along with a base salary for each. Adding in the valuation of the stocks each received, the payments total $187 million. There are still some questions as to the financing behind Musk’s takeover, but cryptocurrency firm Binance did confirm to CNBC that it is one of the equity investors backing the Tesla founder.

“We’re excited to be able to help Elon realize a new vision for Twitter. We aim to play a role in bringing social media and Web3 together in order to broaden the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a statement.

The news also carries some dread for a cross-section of Twitter users who have been wary of Musk’s affinity for “free speech” which has led some to feel that the worst characters on the platform would be more emboldened. Some have speculated that Musk would even reinstate the account of former President Donald Trump; Gadde was the one who made the final decision to bar Trump from the platform.