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Elon Musk hits up Qataris and Saudis for Twitter coup cash

Tesla co-founder announced takeover of the social media site last month, causing shares to rocket
Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (AFP

Qatari and Saudi businesses are among those that have put up money to help finance businessman Elon Musk's deal to take over social media giant Twitter.

According to a securities filing made by Musk on Thursday, he has raised $7.1bn for the acquisition from 18 investors, including Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Company conglomerate and Qatar Holding LLC, a subsidiary of the state-backed Qatar Investment Authority.

Others include Ellison ($1 bn), Sequoia Capital ($800m) and Vy Capital ($700m). 

The filing said that Alwaleed bin Talal had agreed to contribute about 35 million Twitter shares worth $1.9bn so as to retain a stake in the company post-acquisition.

"I look forward to roll our ~$1.9bn in the 'new' @Twitter and join you on this exciting journey," he tweeted on Thursday.

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The Saudi prince, who says he is a major Twitter shareholder, said in April he would reject Musk's "best and final" offer to buy 100 percent of the company for $43bn.

"I don't believe that the proposed offer by @elonmusk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of (Twitter) given its growth prospects. Being one of the largest & long-term shareholders of Twitter, @Kingdom_KHC & I reject this offer," the prince wrote.

Musk then responded to the prince's rejection with an apparent jab at the kingdom's own media laws.

"Interesting. Just two questions, if I may," Musk replied.

"How much of Twitter does the Kingdom own, directly & indirectly? What are the Kingdom’s views on journalistic freedom of speech?"

Multi-billion dollar deal

The investments will reduce a $12.5bn margin loan organised through Morgan Stanley and other banks to $6.25bn, the filing said.

The new financing means less of Musk's Tesla shares will be used as collateral under the margin loan. 

Musk "may receive additional financing commitments to fund additional portions of the total Merger Consideration", the filing said.

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It added that the Tesla chief was also discussing with former Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and others who may contribute shares to maintain an equity stake.

The Twitter takeover is expected to close later in 2022. 

Upon completion of the deal, Musk is expected to serve as temporary CEO of Twitter for a few months, according to CNBC, which cited unnamed sources.

Twitter's share price skyrocketed last month after Musk announced he had acquired a nine percent stake in the company, becoming its largest shareholder.

Musk had considered joining Twitter's board but ultimately rejected a seat at the company's table on Monday. According to Bloomberg, Musk's wealth hovers around $260bn.

The billionaire has been critical of Twitter's policies on "free speech" and its business model, suggesting the company move from an ad-based business to one that relies on subscriptions.

He has said the platform needs to go private in order to change and unlock its true potential.

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