At least 18 marquee investors, including some big names in the crypto space, have participated in billionaire Elon Musk’s US $44 billion acquisition of social media platform, Twitter, according to data filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC). The transaction is expected to complete in 2022, subject to all shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Musk filed a statement of the acquisition, announcing that Twitter received an aggregate of around US $7.13 billion in new financing commitments in connection with the merger agreement, subject to the conditions in co-investor equity commitment letters.
The names of the co-investors include a unit of Oracle’s Larry Ellison, venture funds Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance. Ellison’s Lawrence J Ellison Trust Revocable Trust topped the list with an investment commitment of US $1 billion, followed by Sequoia Capital with an investment commitment of US $800 million, as per the SEC filings.
Vy Capital has committed US $700 million and Binance is the fourth biggest contributor with a pledge to invest US $500 million. Apart from Sequoia Capital and Binance, other major crypto industry players to have committed investments in Twitter are Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z) and Fidelity Management and Research Company.
Each of the equity investor mentioned in the filings, has committed to contribute to the parent or immediately prior to the closing of the merger. Binance’s move to participate in Musk’s takeover of Twitter has boosted digital currency evangelists’ hopes for the development of a more “decentralized” and crypto-friendly social media platform.
According to a16z, while Twitter had great promise as a public square, it suffered from a myriad of difficult issues ranging from both bots to abuse to censorship. It further said being a public company solely reliant on an advertising business model exacerbated all the above problems and it bestowed its confidence on Musk to have the courage, brilliance and skills needed to fix all those problems. A16z has committed to invest US $400 million in Twitter.
While Musk’s future plans for Twitter is still not clear, he has already hinted at plans to make the social media platform more crypto-friendlier. He had previously said that one of his top priorities for Twitter would be to remove “spam and scam bots and bot armies”, including those related to crypto.
Musk, himself a Twitter power user, has been critical of the platform’s approach to content moderation and has floated the idea of several new features that the service could potentially introduce under his ownership. He has teased the possibility of end-to-end encryption for direct messages, a ‘slight’ cost for commercial and government users of the platform’s service and authentication of all “real humans”.
Meanwhile, Musk also disclosed in the SEC filing that Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has committed to contribute about 35 million Twitter shares, so that he can retain an equity investment in the social media company upon completion of the merger. In a separate announcement, the Saudi Price said he and his Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia has offered to join Musk and further invest US $1.9 billion in Twitter.