Decades of low interest rates, now being rapidly unwound, created vast fortunes for risk asset holders. The breadth and depth of that wealth is apparent in the group that has agreed to buy Twitter alongside Elon Musk.
On Thursday, a securities filing disclosed that the Tesla chief executive had lined up just over $7bn in equity commitments to fund the $44bn acquisition. Parties include top-tier venture capital firms, famed multibillionaires, sovereign wealth funds and crypto pioneers as well as more obscure players.
A privately owned Twitter may well be a good place to ride out the reckoning in public markets. And it might be fun going to board meetings chaired by the irascible Musk. One new Twitter backer, Binance, the crypto exchange estimated to be worth in excess of $100bn, admitted it had done little due diligence.
Elon Musk secured $13bn of debt for the Twitter buyout lent against the company and then personally committed $33.5bn to the deal. Originally, that figure was in the form of a $12.5bn margin loan secured against his Tesla ownership. The rest was a $21bn equity commitment. On Thursday, the breakdown changed as the loan was reduced to $6.25bn and the equity commitment raised by the same amount. Musk, according to securities filings from last week, sold $8.5bn worth of his Tesla shares.
Among the boldfaced names announced as co-investors are the likes of Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity and Larry Ellison, the latter who committed $1bn of his fortune made in software. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, also said he would contribute his existing shares at a value of $1.9bn.
Some of these firms have principals who are politically aligned with Musk. Still, their presence — along with debt investors — are likely to force the Tesla boss to run a commercially successful social media platform and plan an eventual liquidity strategy. Who knows where public market valuations will be then? But for this group, it may be comforting that it will not affect their standard of living either way.
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