Elon Musk's Twitter bid leans on financier linked to Russian tycoon

2 months ago 83

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Elon Musk's bid for Twitter, which has been upended by the billionaire's threat to walk away, attracted a bevy of big-name backers and Silicon Valley mainstays. There were some notable exceptions.

High on that list is a Dubai-based investment firm whose assets have surged to more than US$5 billion (S$6.9 billion) under its secretive founder Alexander Tamas, according to regulatory filings and people familiar with the matter. Vy Capital - whose main website consists of one page, with no address and no contact details - has committed US$700 million to finance Mr Musk's bid for the social network, making it the third-biggest outside equity investor in the deal that's drawn money from billionaire Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital, securities filings show.

The ability of Vy to help finance one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history - if it goes ahead despite a dispute over fake accounts - is noteworthy for a firm with few public records showing its funding sources or the nature of its investments. Vy, whose equity commitment to the US$44 billion deal topped those by Brookfield Asset Management and Qatar, has also backed companies such as Mr Musk's Boring Co. and crypto exchange ErisX, according to PitchBook data.

Mr Tamas, a German national, has a history of connecting himself to big-name investors. Before setting up Vy, he worked closely with Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner and now appears to be cultivating links to Mr Musk. He's also put money into the Tesla boss's rocket company SpaceX and brain-machine maker Neuralink. And according to LinkedIn, one of Vy's summer analysts is currently Benjamin Birchall, a son of Mr Musk's key aide Jared Birchall.

A 2020 document from blank-cheque company Vy Global Growth said that Vy has more than US$2 billion in assets under management. Those assets have since more than doubled and consist of a limited number of funds with about US$1 billion in money to deploy, according to people familiar with the firm's operations. Backers include large American endowments, said the people, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

A Twitter account for Mr Tamas has existed since March 200...

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