Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, Binance and 16 others have collectively chipped in more than $7.1 billion in financing toward Elon Musk’s planned takeover of Twitter, according to a security filing.
The infusion adds heft to the Tesla chief’s offer and eases some of the financial pressure he’s taken on in pursuit of the social media platform. Musk has reportedly been conversing with Twitter shareholders and wealthy individuals in search of backing, including co-founder Jack Dorsey.
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. Musk is now on the hook for $27.25 billion.
Twitter’s board signed off on the $44 billion deal late last month, giving the world’s richest person command of a highly influential platform. The acquisition, at $54.20 a share, followed weeks of evangelizing on the necessity of “free speech,” as the Tesla CEO seized on Twitter’s role as the “de facto town square” and took umbrage with content moderation efforts he views as an escalation toward censorship. He said he sees Twitter as essential to the functioning of democracy and said the economics are not a concern.
Musk’s positions on free speech and how to police the site have put him relatively at odds with current Twitter leadership, raising questions about how he will seek to steer his changes through and whether they will affect Twitter’s current leadership.
CNBC, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that Musk is expected to serve as Twitter’s temporary CEO after he completes the takeover. The current CEO, Parag Agrawal, replaced Jack Dorsey in November. Twitter declined to comment.
Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, said it’s no surprise Musk would seek to spread some of the costs of the $44 billion deal. With such an impressive list of backers, Ives said he thinks this has put the likelihood of the deal going through to around 95%.
“You have a who’s who of Silicon Valley and the investing landscape of America behind Musk,” Ives told The Post. “This gives the street further comfort that it’s not just Musk himself trying to fix Twitter.”
Other investors include Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, who originally rejected Musk’s offer, saying he didn’t think it came “close to the intrinsic value” of the company.
Musk fired back on Twitter, asking the prince to disclose how much of Twitter Saudi Arabia owned and for him to spell out the nation’s views on “journalistic freedom of speech.”
U.S. intelligence has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Now, the prince has agreed to hold roughly $1.9 billion in shares.
Binance, the popular cryptocurrency trading platform which has gotten a boost from Musk’s very public love of dogecoin, contributed $500 million.
Some names familiar to other Musk efforts, such as Ellision, a friend of Musk’s and a Tesla board member, who committed $1 billion. His own experience with Oracle could help Musk navigate the rocky takeover terrain. Dubai-based VyCapital, an investor in the Boring Company, Musk’s tunneling project, threw in $700 million.
Ben Horowitz, investor and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, which contributed $400 million, said in a Twitter feed that the venture capital firm believes in “Elon’s brilliance” to make Twitter “what it was meant to be.”
“While Twitter has 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 reliant on an advertising business model exacerbates all of these.”
He said Musk was “perhaps the only person in the world” who could fix these problems. The praise echoes that of conservatives who have championed Musk’s bid and characterized him as a crusader for free speech, saying he will make the platform “great again.”