The Elon Musk Twitter Era is Nigh, Thanks in Part to Cash From Trump's Pals

Elon Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter has had its ups and downs, much like the stock price of most of his companies. But it seems like a final arrangement is approaching, and that once it arrives Musk will be pulling the strings of the social networking platform where he spends a great deal of his time. 

CNBC reported on Thursday that Musk is expected to serve as Twitter’s temporary CEO as soon as the deal is official. It was previously reported that Musk had selected a CEO to his newly acquired social media platform, and the news that Musk will be taking over until his preferred choice comes aboard likely spells the end of current CEO Parag Agrawal’s tenure. It’s anybody’s guess how all of this will actually shake out, though. This is Elon Musk, after all.

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The bigger question is how Musk is financing the takeover. Musk has backed a good amount of the deal with funding based on his own shares of Tesla stock and bank loans. But to foot the massive $44 billion bill he also needed a ton of outside investor money, which, it appears he got from some unlikely (or very likely, depending on whom you ask) places. 

Based on new SEC filings, Musk recently secured more than $7 billion in equity funding from around 19 sources, which include sums in the hundreds of millions from various hedge funds, as well as some more notable sources, like the Saudi royal family. Per the filing, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud has agreed to purchase 34,948,975 shares of Twitter at $54.20 upon completion of the deal with Musk, which is notable because Prince Alwaleed had previously said “nuts” to a similar offer.

Musk is also getting $375 million from Qatar, which is a little curious considering Musk has repeatedly claimed that his Twitter will be a bastion of free speech. Qatar is not really a fan.

Musk landing massive investments from wealthy overseas nations isn’t surprising, but the list of Musk’s financiers does raise the question of, “Huh, what’s going on here?”

For example, many of the names on this list are all nebulously (or tangibly) connected to the wider Trump universe. This may simply be due to the fact that nearly all of America’s megarich are all in business together in order to make each other more rich. Still, Maggie Haberman at the Times points out that Zach Witkoff, the son of Witkoff Capital founder Steve Witkoff ($100 million investment in MuskTwitter) recently got married at Mar-a-Lago with Trump in attendance. Steve Witkoff, in turn, used to be one of Trump’s real estate lawyers.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is also a big investor, forking over $1 billion. Ellison is good friends with Musk, apparently. He’s also one of Trump’s wealthiest supporters.

Meanwhile, Brookfield, a Canadian asset management company and a new $250 million investor in Twitter, is also deeply linked to the Trumps. In 2019, Brookfield took out a 99-year lease on 666 Fifth Avenue, which was owned by the Kushner family, paying the entire lease’s $1.1 billion sum up front and massively bailing out the Kushners’ struggling business. In return, strangely, Brookfield subsidiary Westinghouse Electric, which is the only U.S. company that makes large nuclear reactors like, say, the ones that the Saudi government was actively pursuing as part of its nuclear power plan

How are Twitter’s new financiers going to affect Twitter as we know it? It is as yet unclear. What seems like a safe bet, right now, is that Trump will get his account back, thanks to a new CEO who truly understands the poster’s heart.

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