It's official: Elon Musk is set to buy Twitter.

The social media giant confirmed Monday the Tesla CEO and billionaire will acquire the company in a deal worth $44 billion. Once the deal is complete, which is expected by this year, Twitter will become a privately held company, USA TODAY reports.

"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," said Musk in a statement. "I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans." 

Shares of Twitter rose more than 5 percent in afternoon trading Monday. 

Earlier Monday, Musk said: "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means."

Last week, Musk said he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter and had been continuing to negotiate with the company

“Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet after the sale was confirmed. “Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important.”.