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Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has wanted to buy Twitter “for a while,” according to texts revealed in Elon Musk’s legal proceedings against the social media platform.
Insider reported Thursday that William MacAskill—who is a part of the SBF-funded FTX Future Fund—was trying to set up a meeting between the FTX CEO and Musk back in March to see if the two could purchase Twitter in a “joint effort.”
The text message exhibits were subsequently published online by New York Times reporter Kate Conger, corroborating the Insider account.
MacAskill, a self-described “altruist” and philosophy professor at Oxford University, reportedly said that Bankman-Fried was willing to contribute roughly $8-15 billion to the Twitter acquisition, but Morgan Stanley’s Head of Global Technology Investment Banking Michael Grimes later told Musk that Bankman-Fried would only be open to handing over $5 billion for a joint deal to share the Web2 company.
Grimes—no relation to Musk’s ex-girlfriend, singer Grimes—is said to have talked up Bankman-Fried to the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, calling SBF an “ultra genius and doer builder.”
Now, the ultimate crypto-tech billionaire teamup is unlikely to play out given Musk’s subsequent aversion to Twitter’s practices.
Musk said the Twitter deal couldn’t move forward because he’s convinced that 90% of Twitter comments are from bot or spam accounts. Musk’s team also raised concerns about the extent to which Twitter’s reported 238 million daily active users are real humans and not automated bot accounts.
The Tesla CEO’s representatives alleged that Twitter “made false and misleading representations” and “is in material breach of multiple provisions” of their agreement, according to a July filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk back in July in response to Musk backing away from the $44 billion deal.
Twitter argued Musk was not was not allowed to “trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away,” according to the July filing. It also said that employee departures were on the rise since the deal became public.
But in an August filing, Musk’s team cited a whistleblower report from Twitter’s former Head of Security Pieter Zatko which claimed that half of Twitter’s staff have access to “sensitive systems,” posing a security risk.
Zatko’s report also claimed that Twitter does not own or license its own “core code,” meaning that the code’s owners could “either shut down much of Twitter’s business through an injunction” or “demand substantial damages” at any time.
Sam Bankman-Fried and MacAskill have not yet responded to Decrypt’s requests for comment.