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Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter Inc. for $44 billion (¥5.61 trillion), using one of the biggest leveraged buyout deals in history to take private a 16-year-old social networking platform that has become a hub of public discourse and a flash point in the debate over online free speech.

Investors will receive $54.20 for each Twitter share they own, the company said in a statement Monday. The price is 38% more than the stock’s close on April 1, the last business day before Musk disclosed a significant stake in the company, sparking a share rally.

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