A trove of text messages released as part of the legal fight against Elon Musk’s efforts to end his acquisition of Twitter revealed frantic efforts to close the $44 billion deal with the help of a Silicon Valley’s leading support group.
Hundreds of messages from early 2022 between Musk and his associates showed the billionaire entrepreneur engaging with Twitter management and board, his advisers at Morgan Stanley, potential investors such as the chief executive from FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, and random supporters of his offering, including a podcast. host Joe Rogan.
Jack Dorsey, the former chief executive of Twitter, told Musk that he previously tried to bring him on the company’s board in 2020 but was turned down, the texts revealed.
The documents showed that when Musk announced his intention to take the company private in April, several high-profile names emerged to back his bid.
In an exchange, Morgan Stanley banker Michael Grimes told Musk that Bankman-Fried, the billionaire chief executive of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was willing to invest up to $5 billion in the OK.
Grimes said Bankman-Fried will work to integrate blockchain technology for Twitter. “He could shake hands with 5 if you like him and I think you will,” Grimes said in one of many text messages he sent to Musk.
The billionaire dismissed the idea and questioned Bankman-Fried’s finances, asking, “Does Sam actually have $3 billion in cash?”
Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of German media group Axel Springer, also offered to run Twitter for Musk if he bought it to “establish a real platform for free speech”, writing a detailed proposal on how it might work.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison said he was “participating in $2 billion,” while LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman said he could contribute the same amount. Ellison eventually contributed $1 billion to the offer.
Musk and Grimes also lamented that Orlando Bravo, the software private equity magnate, died joining the buyout.
The documents have been released as Musk and Twitter prepare to go to court next month. Musk announced in July that he planned to walk away from the deal, arguing that Twitter breached the merger agreement by misleading him and regulators about the number of fake accounts on the platform.
Twitter denied the allegations and announced a counter-suit in an attempt to force Musk into the deal.
Documents filed Thursday showed Musk first approached Twitter management about joining the board in early April, after a conversation with Dorsey in which the former Twitter chief complained that the platform -shape “cannot be a business” and should instead be “owned by a foundation”. ”
Dorsey said he tried to get Musk on the board before, but they declined because he was “risk averse.” Musk, who has a longtime friendship with Dorsey, replied, “I’d love to help if I can.”
Dorsey later wrote to Musk describing Twitter’s board as “terrible.”
The posts also revealed a breakdown in relations between Musk and Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal shortly after the Tesla boss agreed to join the social media company’s board. In a post, Agrawal berates the billionaire for writing, “Is Twitter dying? on the platform, arguing that it distracted staff.
“What have you been doing this week?” Musk wrote in the tense exchange. “I’m not joining the board. It’s a waste of time. Will make an offer to make Twitter private.
The posts also featured appearances from podcaster Rogan, who asked Musk if he would “free Twitter from the censorship-happy crowd?” and Jason Calacanis, an angel investor, who sought to raise funds for Musk’s bid and offered to help run the company if it went private, saying, “Twitter’s CEO is the job of my dreams.”
The data dump comes as Twitter accused Musk of not cooperating in delivering his communications, including posts on the Signal platform.
Twitter lawyers used messages received from other parties to infer that Musk failed to respond to court orders and asked a Delaware judge to impose sanctions on the billionaire for what they describe as misconduct of discovery.
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