Elon Musk bags $7.1 billion Twitter funding from Binance, Sequoia and others
By Team Startupcity | Friday, 06 May 2022, 03:32 Hrs
Elon Musk has secured about $7.1 billion of new financing commitments, including from billionaire Larry Ellison, a Saudi Prince, and Sequoia Capital, to help fund his proposed $44 billion takeover of Twitter Inc.
The equity commitments from 19 investors come as the Tesla Inc. billionaire marshals capital to bankroll one of the biggest tech industry takeovers. Musk had originally said he planned to fund the deal in part with a $12.5 billion loan against his shares in Tesla, the electric-vehicle company he runs. The new funding will allow him to reduce by half the size of that margin loan to $6.25 billion, making the deal less risky for both Musk and his lenders. It also slightly reduces the amount of cash Musk needs to put up personally.
CNBC reported that Musk plans to serve as chief executive officer of Twitter, at least temporarily.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the board at Kingdom Holding Company, made the biggest contribution, agreeing to commit almost 35 million shares in Twitter -- worth $1.9 billion -- to retain a stake in the company following Musk’s takeover, according to an amended securities filing on Thursday morning. Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corp. who has a big stake in Tesla and a seat on its board, committed $1 billion through his trust.
Other investors named in the filing on Thursday include the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance Holdings Ltd, Brookfield Asset Management, Fidelity Management & Research, and Qatar Holding.
Changpeng Zhao, Chief Executive Officer of Binance, which promised $500 million, tweeted that it was “A small contribution to the cause.”
With the financing picture becoming clearer, the market seems to be coming around to the idea that the deal will close. The gap between Twitter’s stock price and the $54.20 per share that Musk offered to pay for the company is narrowing to its lowest since April 26.
The world’s wealthiest person reached an agreement on April 25 to acquire Twitter using a financing plan that’s alarmed some Tesla investors. In addition to pledging tens of billions of dollars worth of his Tesla shares to support margin loans, Musk vowed to line up some $21 billion worth of equity. That number has risen to $27.25 billion, according to Thursday’s filing. Twitter shares rose 2.9% as the market opened in New York to $50.49.
“In this game of high stakes poker, Ellison and the impressive list of backers will remove more of an overhang from Tesla shares as the Musk leverage of shares now becomes less onerous,” said Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush. “This was a smart financial and strategic move by Musk that will be well received across the board.”
Musk has sold more than $8.5 billion of Tesla stock to finance the deal.
Musk’s latest backers includes a bevy of traditional asset managers, venture capital firms, boutique hedge funds, and one of the world’s largest pools of capital. Qatar Holding, a unit of the nation’s wealth fund, has agreed to commit $375 million.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed previously rejected Musk’s bid, stating that it failed to come “close to the intrinsic value of Twitter.”
Musk is also in discussions with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on contributing some of his shares toward the acquisition.
Ellison, 77, is the richest person in the group besides Musk. The corporate software titan has a net worth of $95.6 billion, placing him 11th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s not an active Twitter user -- his only tweet was a decade ago -- but he does share Musk’s political views. Ellison is a major Republican donor and hosted a fundraiser for Trump in 2020.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who has publicly feuded with Dorsey on Twitter, has agreed to commit $400 million via his fund A16Z. Fellow venture firm Sequoia Capital is putting up double that, with $800 million.
Several Tesla investors are among those committing support for Musk’s Twitter bid, including Ellison, who owns 1.45% of the carmaker’s outstanding shares, and Fidelity Management & Research Co., which owns about 1%. Both are among Tesla’s biggest investors.
Smaller investors include Witkoff Capital, the real estate-backed family office, and Cartenna Capital, a hedge fund set up by Peter Avellone, a former Millennium Management portfolio manager.