Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter could end up costing him less than the $44 billion that he offered last month, according to an investment firm that has bet against the social-media giant’s shares.
Hindenburg Research, a firm that specializes in activist short-selling, says that Musk has enough leverage to threaten to walk away from the deal and get Twitter’s board to agree to a lower purchase price.
“Musk holds all the cards here,” Hindenburg, which has a short position on Twitter, said in a report.
“If Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter disappeared tomorrow, Twitter’s equity would fall by 50% from current levels. Consequently, we see a significant risk that the deal gets repriced lower.”
Shares of Twitter were trading down some 2.67% as of noon on the East Coast. At $47.76 per share, it was the lowest since Musk made his offer of $54.20 per share last month.
The Post has sought comment from Twitter.
“We are supportive of Musk’s efforts to take Twitter private and see a significant chance the deal will close at a lower price,” Hindenburg said.
The short-seller said the deal has seen a number of developments, from financing to board approval, which could have weakened the company’s position.
Hindenburg said Musk could walk away paying the $1 billion breakup fee and has leverage to renegotiate if he chooses to.
Last month, Twitter secured a $44 billion cash deal to sell itself to Musk and received over $7 billion in funding from high-profile investors, including Oracle’s co-founder Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital.
The Post reported that Musk was closing in on raising $10 billion in cash from equity co-investors — mostly venture capital firms that have backed his other companies, like SpaceX.
The filing listed 19 investors, including billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The Saudi royal, who initially rejected Musk’s takeover bid, saying it was too low, is now apparently willing to contribute 35 million of his own shares of Twitter — worth $1.9 billion — to retain an investment once Musk takes the firm private, according to filings.
Ellison, the seventh-richest person with a net worth valued at $105.7 billion. is willing to invest $1 billion, while Sequoia has pledged $800 million, the filing shows.
VyCapital ($700 million), cryptocurrency exchange firm Binance ($500 million), and venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz ($400 million) have also committed funds.
Musk will continue to hold talks with existing holders of Twitter, including the company’s former chief Jack Dorsey, to contribute shares to the proposed acquisition, the filing showed.
With Post wires
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