Home Book trading Musk lines up over $7 billion in investor funding for Twitter deal

Musk lines up over $7 billion in investor funding for Twitter deal

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Two weeks ago, business leaders publicly questioned whether Elon Musk was serious about trying to make Twitter private. Now some of the world’s best investors are lining up to back his ambitions.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Musk unveiled a list of backers who collectively plan to fund more than $7 billion of the Twitter deal. The group includes leading Silicon Valley investment firms Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital, cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

The infusion is significant validation for Musk, whose pursuit of Twitter was until recently seen as a pipe dream to recalibrate the treatment of free speech on the social media platform, and increases the likelihood that the agreement will be finalized in the coming months, Dan said. Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities.

“You have a who’s who of Silicon Valley and the American investment landscape behind Musk,” Ives told The Washington Post. “It’s not just Musk himself trying to fix Twitter.”

Support from tech titans such as Marc Benioff, a friend of Musk’s and a member of Tesla’s board of directors, reinforces the idea that Musk intends to make Twitter more profitable. It marks a turnaround from last month, when Tesla’s CEO said in an interview at a TED talk that he wasn’t interested in the economics of the deal and acknowledged the deal might not. not work.

Elon Musk discussed possible job cuts on Twitter with bankers

The investment alleviates some of the financial pressure Musk has taken on in pursuit of the social media platform. The investments mean Musk’s margin loan — which allows him to borrow against the value of securities he already owns — has been halved from $12.5 billion to $6.25 billion, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated Wednesday.

However, Musk still has to find 21 billion dollars in cash that he does not have yet or publicly stated how it will get. Most of his $268 billion fortune is tied to his stocks, including Tesla, although he recently sold more than $8 billion of his shares in the electric carmaker.

Musk’s focus on Twitter has investors worried about his day job at Tesla. Shares of the automaker fell 7.9% amid a market selloff on Thursday. Twitter stock soared nearly 3%.

Twitter’s board signed the $44 billion deal late last month, giving the world’s richest person control of a highly influential platform. The acquisition follows weeks of evangelizing the need for ‘free speech’, as Musk seized on Twitter’s role as a ‘de facto public square’ and took umbrage at moderation efforts. content that he considers an escalation towards censorship.

Musk’s stances on free speech and how to control the site have put him relatively at odds with Twitter’s current leadership, raising questions about how he will direct his changes and whether they will affect the executive suite. .

CNBC, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that Musk is expected to step in as temporary CEO after completing the takeover. Current chief executive Parag Agrawal replaced Jack Dorsey in November. Twitter declined to comment.

Elon Musk buys Twitter for around $44 billion

To steer this ship, Musk can rely on the expertise of his new backers.

Ellison, who pledged $1 billion, co-founded enterprise software company Oracle in the 1970s and built it into one of the biggest technology companies in the world. Over the past decade, he’s stepped down from the CEO role, bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai and spent more time supporting an America’s Cup sailing team.

Unlike Musk, Ellison is not known for his political outspokenness. However, in 2015 and 2016, he donated more than $5 million to two political action committees that backed the campaigns of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), according to OpenSecrets records. An Oracle spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Sequoia Capital, which committed $800 million to the Twitter deal, has a long history with Musk. In addition to backing two of his current projects, SpaceX and The Boring Co., Sequoia helped him launch one of his first ventures, X.com, which eventually merged with another startup to become PayPal.

Mike Moritz, a Sequoia partner who made a significant investment in X.com, once advised Musk not to tie his wealth to one company, according to Jimmy Soni’s book “The Founders.” Don’t have “essentially everything but your house and your car in a business,” he said.

Roelof Botha, whom Musk recruited from Stanford to become PayPal’s chief financial officer, is set to take charge of Sequoia this summer. Moritz led the firm until 2012 and is now a partner.

“For more than two decades, we’ve had a front-row seat to Elon’s business and technical prowess,” a Sequoia spokesperson said in a statement. “We, like him, see the opportunity to drive meaningful product innovation that will help unlock the full potential of Twitter as a global platform that connects the world.”

Ben Horowitz, investor and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, which contributed $400 million to the new deal, said in a Twitter thread that the venture capital firm believed in “the brilliance of Elon” to make Twitter “what it was meant to be”.

“While Twitter holds great promise as a public square, it suffers from a myriad of difficult issues ranging from bots to abuse to censorship,” Horowitz said. “Being a public company solely dependent on an advertising business model exacerbates all of this.”

He said Musk was “maybe the only person in the world” who could solve these problems. The praise echoes those of conservatives who have championed Musk’s candidacy and characterized him as a crusader for free speech, saying he will make the platform “great again.”

Musk has emerged as one of the top cryptocurrency champions, which may explain why Binance plans to invest $500 million in buying Twitter.

Elon Musk and the big tech fallacy

The world’s largest crypto trading platform contacted Musk after making its initial offer, and the billionaire welcomed a discussion on how crypto technologies could be leveraged to improve the social media site, according to Patrick Hillman, a Binance spokesperson.

He said Musk’s team had expressed interest in using blockchain technology — the basis of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — to counter spam and fake accounts on the site. “We’re thrilled to be able to help Elon bring a new vision to life for Twitter,” Hillman said.

Binance has caught the attention of regulators who fear it is being used for money laundering and tax evasion. The company says the blockchain is a safer and more transparent place to do business than traditional banks, and says it works with regulators and shares information with them upon request.

Other investors include Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, who initially rejected Musk’s $54.20 per share offer, saying in an April 14 statement. Tweeter that he didn’t think it came close to the “intrinsic value” of the company. Musk fired back on Twitter, asking the prince to disclose Saudi Arabia’s share of Twitter and for him to state the nation’s views on “journalistic freedom of expression”.

US intelligence has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Now the prince has agreed to convert his stake in Twitter. — worth nearly $2 billion — into a stake in the private company.

Tory Newmyer contributed to this report.