Elon Musk has confirmed on a video call with his advisers that he intends to close his $44bn acquisition of Twitter on Friday, potentially bringing an end to the turbulent acquisition process, according to people briefed about the matter.
In another sign that the deal will close by the end of the week, Musk’s lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom sent paperwork to equity investors in the deal, according to two investors and a person close to the Tesla boss.
A group of banks led by Morgan Stanley, which includes Bank of America and Barclays, committed $13bn in financing for the deal back in April. Meanwhile, Musk has raised at least $7bn for his bid from a roster of equity investors including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and asset management groups Fidelity, Brookfield and Sequoia Capital.
Confirmation from Musk that he intends to close the deal will come as a relief to Twitter shareholders concerned that the billionaire, who has repeatedly tried to find a way to walk away from the deal, would seek to find a last-minute reason to abandon the transaction.
Twitter shares rose 2.7 per cent to $52.92 on the news, the highest they have traded since Musk agreed to pay $54.20 a share to buy the company in April.
Large hedge funds, including DE Shaw, betting on the deal’s completion have been adding to their positions ahead of Friday’s expected closing.
One told the Financial Times it added to its position after a report from Bloomberg that US officials were discussing whether they could review the deal under national security grounds — which the White House later denied — sent shares tumbling. The fund bought more than 200,000 shares at an average price below $50 per share during a sell-off last Friday. “Once it closes, I will be happy,” said the hedge fund manager.
Several months after agreeing to buy Twitter, Musk, who had waived due diligence to buy the platform, said he was terminating the deal, citing concerns over fake accounts and cyber security. Twitter sued Musk in a bid to compel him to close.
This month, Musk and Twitter’s legal fight was due to go to trial in Delaware Chancery Court. However, in the face of mounting legal pressure, Musk capitulated, saying he was willing to buy the company at the originally agreed price if the legal action was dropped.
Twitter resisted an immediate resolution, pointing to a deep mistrust of Musk, but the court then ordered the parties to find a way to close the deal by October 28 or face a November trial.
One person familiar with Twitter’s thinking said the company also expects the deal to close on Friday. Bloomberg first reported news of Musk’s call with advisers on Tuesday. A CNBC journalist first reported that equity investors had received paperwork from Musk’s lawyers.
Twitter declined to comment. A representative for Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Richard Waters in San Francisco and Arash Massoudi in London