On Friday, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) implemented a “poison pill” to limit Elon Musk’s ability to increase his stake in the social media network, as a buyout firm emerged to fight his $43 billion deal. According to persons familiar with the situation, Thoma Bravo, a technology-focused private equity firm with more than $103 billion in assets under management as of the end of December, has told Twitter that it is considering putting together a proposal.
It’s unclear how much Thoma Bravo might be willing to offer, and there’s no guarantee that such a rival bid will materialise, according to the individuals, who declined to be identified since the topic is private.
A spokesperson for Thoma Bravo declined to comment, and officials for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to the New York Post, Thoma Bravo is exploring a bid for Twitter.
Twitter announced on Friday that it had implemented a poison pill that will dilute anyone with a stake in the company of more than 15% by selling more shares at a discount to other owners. The poison pill, properly known as a shareholder rights plan, will be in effect for 364 days.
The measure would not prevent Musk from immediately approaching the compaby’s shareholders with his offer via a tender offer. While the poison pill would make it impossible for most Twitter shareholders to sell their shares, the tender offer would allow them to express their support or opposition to Musk’s offer.
The fact that Thoma Bravo is interested suggests that there will be more private equity groups fighting for Twitter. According to data source Preqin, the global private equity business has $1.8 trillion in dry powder. Most buyout firms, unlike huge technological conglomerates, would not face antitrust limitations if they bought Twitter.
Musk is quite critical of Twitter’s advertising policies
Musk’s bid might be boosted by a private equity group cooperating with him rather than competing with him. According to industry sources, Musk’s criticism of Twitter’s reliance on advertising for the majority of its revenue has made some private equity firms wary of partnering with him. This is because a robust cash flow makes it much easier to finance a leveraged buyout.
Silver Lake, a private equity firm with over $90 billion in assets under management, would be an ideal partner for Musk because it financed his $72-billion bid for Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) four years ago, which Musk later abandoned. Egon Durban, the co-chief executive of Silver Lake, is also a member of Twitter’s board of directors.
However, when Twitter’s board convened on Thursday to debate Musk’s offer for the first time, Durban did not recuse himself, according to people familiar with the subject, indicating that Silver Lake has not sought to link up with Musk or make its own bid thus far.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Twitter’s board will need several more days to evaluate Musk’s bid and compose its response. According to the sources, a decision by the weekend is doubtful.
Twitter’s board of directors has been advised by Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N). According to Bloomberg News, the board has appointed JPMorgan Chase Co Inc (JPM.N) as a second financial adviser.