Sam Bankman-Fried set to cash in up to $100 million from Musk's Twitter purchase

Quick Take

  • FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried owned a $50 million to $100 million stake in Twitter, a source tells The Block.
  • Bankman-Fried had planned to be part of Musk’s purchase of Twitter but ended up not investing, the source said.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX, may cash in up to $100 million from Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter.

The exchange executive owned about $50 million to $100 million worth of stock in the social media giant before the acquisition completed on Thursday, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told The Block. Musk paid $44 billion to take Twitter private, which would put Bankman-Fried's stake at around 0.1% to 0.2%.

FTX declined to comment to The Block and Twitter didn't respond to a request for comment.

Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, completed his purchase of Twitter last week following months of wrangling. He made an immediate mark on the firm by firing CEO Parag Agrawal and other top executives — while tweeting a conciliatory message to advertisers that "Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world." Twitter's shares were suspended from trading on Friday, before being officially delisted on Nov. 8. 

Bankman-Fried had planned to be part of the Musk-Twitter deal but ended up not investing, the source said. Axios reported earlier this month that the FTX boss told Musk he was no longer interested after a phone call between the two. 

Billionaire meeting

SBF, as the crypto executive is known, had committed to putting up as much as $15 billion, according to a series of texts that became public last month as part of Twitter's lawsuit to force Musk to complete the transaction.

Bankman-Fried's advisor Will MacAskill had attempted to set up a meeting between the two billionaires in March, but Musk seemed to have doubted Bankman-Fried's capability to invest in Twitter, per the series of texts. Musk had asked MacAskill whether Bankman-Fried had "huge amounts of money." At the time, MacAskill had said that Bankman-Fried was worth about $24 billion and would be willing to contribute as much as $8 billion to $15 billion. Later in April, MacAskill discussed financing with Morgan Stanley banker Michael Grimes and Grimes told Musk that Bankman-Fried would be willing to commit up to $5 billion.

Musk still appeared less interested in the deal, saying he didn't want to "have a laborious blockchain debate" with Bankman-Fried.

Meanwhile, FTX rival Binance is now a confirmed investor in Twitter. Binance had committed $500 million to invest in the social network alongside Musk's buyout and ended up wiring that much amount last week, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted on Friday. At the $44 billion price, Binance's stake in Twitter comes to around 1.1%. 

As part of its investment, Binance aims to play a role in bringing social media and web3 together to broaden the use and adoption of crypto and blockchain technology, according to Zhao.

Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

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