RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Twitter agreed to sell itself to Elon Musk Monday, in a deal valued around $44 billion.

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

Musk tweeted on Monday, alluding to the deal by saying, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

The $44 billion deal means that Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share they own upon the deal’s closing.

Upon completion of the deal, Twitter will become a privately held company.

The Tesla CEO, and 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.”

“A social media platform’s policies are good if the most extreme 10% on left and right are equally unhappy,” Musk said in a tweet on April 19. He says it needs to be transformed into a private company in order to build trust with users and do better at serving what he calls the “societal imperative” of free speech.

Elon Musk tweets a screenshot, quoting himself after the deal was confirmed

The NAACP chimed in on the deal Monday afternoon on Twitter, tweeting that there is a difference between free speech, and hate speech, and made reference to Twitter banning former President Donald Trump, from the platform.

“Mr. Musk: free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable. Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech have NO PLACE on Twitter. Do not allow 45 to return to the platform,” the NAACP tweeted shortly after the deal was announced.

“Protecting our democracy is of utmost importance, especially as the midterm elections approach. Mr Musk: lives are at risk, and so is American democracy.”

NAACP

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, which was then accepted on Monday, April 25.

The Associated Press contributed to the writing of this report.