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Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk dismissed a report that disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried put $100 million into Musk's Twitter takeover.
Responding to a Business Insider headline alleging that SBF owns a $100 million stake in the newly private Twitter, Musk tweeted simply: “False.”
The Business Insider story was a writeup of a report from recently-launched news site Semafor that said Musk invited SBF to "roll" his existing Twitter stock into the company, which was soon to go private under Musk’s ownership.
False. Also, Business is still not a real publication. Just give up.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2022
SBF had been buying up Twitter stock with a view to his own potential takeover, which was previously reported. On the FTX balance sheet that leaked earlier this month, $43 million in Twitter stock is listed as one of the company’s illiquid assets.
While SBF did not end up injecting any fresh cash into the deal—despite expressing willingness, through a representative, to contribute as much as $10 billion—it was his pre-existing Twitter shares that Semafor initially reported were injected into the company under Musk, based on unpublished text messages Semafor cited.
Following Musk's denial, the publication updated its reporting to clarify that SBF did not invest in Twitter.
Musk has also criticized Semafor by pointing out that SBF was a backer, something the publication discloses in its own coverage of the FTX crisis.
SBF and Musk
Text messages that were made public as part of Twitter’s lawsuit compelling Musk to go through with his takeover offer have shown that SBF and Musk were introduced in March by Will MacAskill, an Oxford Philosophy Professor who is said to have advised SBF on his "effective altruism" principles.
SBF at the time said he was “happy to chat about Twitter (or other things whenever!)” with the Tesla founder.
He reiterated this offer on April 14, the day Musk made known his offer to buy Twitter outright, and sent Musk a link to his own Twitter thread outlining a vision for a decentralized Twitter.
1) FWIW, some thoughts on what a decentralized Twitter might look like:
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) April 14, 2022
The same thread was also sent to Musk by SpaceX and Boring Company backer Michael Kives, who said it could be “cool to do this with Sam Bankman-Fried.”
But in recent weeks, Musk has claimed his early interactions with the FTX founder set off alarm bells. He said Bankman-Fried “set off my bs detector.”
He elaborated further in a Twitter Space, saying: “I talked to him for about half an hour, and my bullshit meter was like red-lining. This dude is full of shit, that was my impression.”
Musk was referring to the period when he was looking for other investors to contribute to the Twitter deal. “He does not have capital, and he will not come through, that was my prediction,” he added.
FTX’s rival and would-be savior eventually invested $500 million in Musk’s Twitter takeover.