Despite having an estimated net worth of more than $200 billion, the world’s richest man is soliciting funds from his billionaire—and multibillionaire—pals to complete his Twitter takeover. As of Thursday, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has amassed $7.1 billion in financing courtesy of Oracle cofounder and Tesla board member Larry Ellison, a Qatar investment house owned by the sovereign wealth fund, leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Silicon Valley V.C. firms Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, and 14 others, according to a recent SEC filing. One of these financiers, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, holds a major stake in Twitter and has agreed to commit his $1.9 billion in shares of the social media company. (Notably, bin Talal initially spurned Musk’s buyout offer, insisting it failed to match the platform’s “intrinsic value,” but the prince has since come around and said Musk will make an “excellent leader.”)
This collective cash injection allows Musk to reduce his own financial risk; he originally was planning on borrowing $12.5 billion against his holdings in Tesla stock. But he is still personally on the hook for an additional $21 billion in cash, and it is unclear where that sum will come from. Musk appears unwilling to further borrow against his Tesla stock after initially planning to commit $62.5 billion worth of the stock as collateral for the loans, and he has stated that he will not offload any more Tesla shares after already selling nearly 10 million. (Though he could potentially raise the money by offloading a portion of his SpaceX stock.) Musk has also reportedly spoken with Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey amid his financing drive. Musk’s P.R. team did not immediately respond to Vanity Fair’s request for comment.
Last month Twitter’s 11 board members agreed to sell the platform to Musk, who was revealed as the company’s top shareholder in early April, for $44 billion. In the lead-up to the offer, Musk portrayed himself as a “free speech” crusader and criticized the content-moderation policies enforced by Twitter management. He has signaled that his interest in Twitter is purely ideological while showing little public interest in the company’s profitability. But on Tuesday, he proposed making corporate and government accounts pay to use the platform. “Twitter will always be free for casual users, but maybe a slight cost for commercial/government users,” he wrote in a tweet. Likewise, in Musk’s conversations with prospective investors, he has flirted with the idea of taking Twitter public again in a few years, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week. On Thursday, CNBC reported that Musk will likely assume the role of temporary Twitter CEO once the buyout is complete, replacing current CEO Parag Agrawal.
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