Not only Elon Musk thought of buying Twitter — crypto billionaire and CEO of FTX exchange Sam Bankman-Fried “was interested” in acquiring the social network back in March 2022, according to a report from Business Insider.
In the piece, published on Sept. 29, journalists are referring to the private texts released amid the court battle between Musk and Twitter, which had been unwinding after the businessman had suspended the acquisition negotiations in July.
According to the report, in March, a philosopher and Bankman-Fried’s close advisor Will MacAskill texted Musk and mentioned the possibility of a joint effort to buy the social network:
“I’m not sure if this is what’s on your mind, but my collaborator Sam Bankman-Fried has for a while been potentially interested in purchasing it and then making it better for the world. If you want to talk with him about a possible joint effort in that direction.”
In response, Musk inquired whether Bankman-Fried had “huge amounts of money,” and MacAskill claimed that SBF was worth $24 billion and ready to spend $8 billion to $15 billion on the acquisition. Later, in April, MacAskill discussed the financing with a head of global technology investment banking at Morgan Stanley, Michael Grimes. The latter told Musk that the crypto entrepreneur could provide $5 billion to seal the deal, calling him “ultra genius and doer builder.” But Musk didn’t show any significant interest and noted that he didn’t want to “have a laborious blockchain debate” with SBF.
These private negotiations seemingly ended in nothing, as neither Bankman-Fried personally nor FTX appeared in a list of potential co-investors of the acquisition, which included such entities as Binance, Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity and Sequoia Capital. In the last known text message between Musk and Bankman-Fried on May 5, the former was asking, “Sorry, who is sending this message?”
Justifying his decision to exit the deal, Musk accused Twitter of concealing the actual number of fake/bot accounts, which in his estimate exceeds 5% of monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) — the mark claimed by social network management. The first hearing on Twitter’s suit will be held on Oct.17. The company intends to force Musk into completing the acquisition judicially.