A group of nearly two dozen investors, including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, crypto exchange Binance and asset management firm Fidelity, has invested over $7.1 billion to back the Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk’s $44 billion bid to acquire Twitter.
Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who is also an investor in Tesla, delivered the largest check, at $1 billion, a Thursday filing revealed. Sequoia has chipped in $800 million, VyCapital $700 million, Binance financed $500 million and Andreessen Horowitz invested $400 million, the amended 13D filing said. Notably, no investor has put in more than $1 billion and large PE firms are still MIA.
“Elon is the one person we know and perhaps the only person in the world who has the courage, brilliance, and skills to fix all of these and build the public square that we all hoped for and deserve,” said Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, in a tweet.
“We invested, because we believe in Ev and Jack’s vision to connect the world and we believe in Elon’s brilliance to finally make it 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. Being a public company solely reliant on an advertising business model exacerbates all of these,” he added.
Among those backing Musk in the fresh financing is Qatar, which, as you may remember, has a poor track record with free speech.
Saudi Arabia’s prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud, who had previously opposed the Twitter buyout, has also committed to providing nearly 35 million shares in Twitter to retain a stake following the company’s takeover by Musk, the disclosure said.
Musk said he is engaging with certain additional existing shareholders, including Twitter co-founder and former chief executive Jack Dorsey, to give them the option to rollover their shares.
As a result of the new investment, Musk said the margin loan of $12.5 billion he had received from Morgan Stanley and other banks has been cut to $6.25 billion. He also increased his total equity commitment to $27.25 billion.
The new investment should ease the burden on Musk as he races to secure tens of billions of dollars to buy Twitter. Late last month, he sold around 9.6 million shares of Tesla, worth about $8.5 billion. The move sank the electric car company’s shares, prompting the billionaire to assure shareholders that he did not plan to sell any more Tesla shares.
Changpeng Zhao, founder and chief executive of Binance, said the crypto exchange hopes to be able to “play a role in bringing social media and web3 together and broadening the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology.”