May 5, 2022 - Economy & Business

Elon Musk raises $7 billion in new funding for Twitter buyout

Elon Musk speaking in Texas in February 2022.
Elon Musk speaking in Texas in February 2022. Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Elon Musk on Thursday disclosed a group of co-investors in his Twitter takeover. The names are impressive, but most of their check sizes aren't.

Driving the news: Musk secured around $5.2 billion in equity commitments from 18 investors, plus a rollover of nearly 35 million Twitter shares from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

  • The largest equity commitment is $1 billion from Oracle founder and major Tesla shareholder Larry Ellison, followed by $800 million from Sequoia Capital, $700 million from VyCapital, $500 million from crypto company Binance and $400 million from Andreessen Horowitz.
  • In a statement, Sequoia said: "For over two decades, we’ve had a front row seat to Elon’s business and technical prowess, from X.com, which became PayPal, to SpaceX and The Boring Company. We see, as he does, the opportunity to drive meaningful product innovation that will help unlock Twitter’s full potential as a global platform that connects the world."
  • Other backers include Baron Capital, DFJ Growth, Fidelity and the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar (a noted "free speech" advocate).

Notably absent (so far) are many of the private equity firms that were kicking tires on the deal, such as Thoma Bravo, likely because they can't figure out how post-buyout Twitter will generate much cash flow with its new debt service requirements.

  • Also missing is Twitter co-founder and Musk acolyte Jack Dorsey, who has around a 2.4% stake he could roll over —although today's SEC filing does say that discussions with Dorsey are ongoing.
  • Plus Founders Fund, which has backed many of Musk's past ventures.

Market reactions: Twitter stock is up in early trading, as Musk's disclosure gives more confidence that the deal will close. Tesla shares are down, as Musk's disclosure gives more confidence that the deal will close.

Next deal: There's been talk this week that Musk eventually plans to bring Twitter back to the public markets, and that's bolstered by a group of investors with limited partners who will eventually want liquidity.

Big picture: This isn't quite like building the airplane after takeoff, but certainly while it's on the runway.

  • This extends past the financing and to Twitter's actual business. The company is trying to calm advertisers by telling them not much will change, while admitting to employees it has no idea what will change.
  • Including at the top level, with a CNBC report that Musk himself plans to serve as interim CEO.

The bottom line: Elon no longer plans to go it alone.

Commitments:

  • Lawrence J. Ellison Revocable Trust: $1 billion
  • Sequoia Capital Fund, L.P.: $800 million
  • VyCapital: $700 million
  • Binance: $500 million
  • AH Capital Management, LLC: $400 million
  • Qatar Holding LLC: $375 million
  • Aliya Capital Partners LLC: $350 million
  • Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC: $316 million
  • Brookfield: $250 million
  • Strauss Capital LLC: $150 million
  • BAMCO, Inc.: $100 million
  • DFJ Growth IV Partners, LLC: $100 million
  • Witkoff Capital: $100 million
  • Key Wealth Advisors LLC: $30 million
  • A.M. Management & Consulting: $25 million
  • Litani Ventures: $25 million
  • Tresser Blvd 402 LLC: $8.5 million
  • Honeycomb Asset Management LP: $5 million

Go deeper: Everything Elon Musk wants to change about Twitter

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that based on new information filed today, Musk is mortgaging Twitter itself to the tune of $6.25 billion (not $13 billion).

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