The battle for Twitter — the preferred soapbox for the president and nearly 50 million active monthly American users — could swing to favor patriots after a white knight acquired a stake in the platform and named his representatives to its board.
Activist investor and Trump-ally Paul Singer, who also bankrolls the Washington Free Beacon online newspaper, was a Republican “Never Trumper” — in the president’s own words — who then became a strong supporter after the 2016 election.
Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. bought 4 per cent of Twitter, Inc. while private equity firm Silver Lake will invest a further $1 billion in the platform before a $2 billion share buyback. The two companies were allowed to name three representatives to Twitter’s board of directors.
They called for 20% subscriber growth and a succession plan to eventually replace Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey — who, of late, had been planning to decamp to Kenya, in addition to his other job running, CEO of Square, the online payments app — but their could be faster moves.
“Silver Lake does not buy shares in tech firms, it takes them private,” Galloway said. “This was first step toward that end.”
The Republican-backing investor compared sharply to Twitter’s prior marquee shareholder.
In 2011, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, invested $300 million in the social network, for 5.2%, compared to Dorsey’s 3.2% and co-founder Ev Williams’s 6.9% stake.
The Saudi prince was one of the many high profile cousins of Mohammed Bin Salmon, the Crown Prince, who came to power and swept up the corruption in his country, locking Alwaleed in the local Ritz Carlton until he coughed up much of his fortune held via Kingdom Holdings.
A Clinton and Obama supporter, Alwaleed was playing on the side of those supporting the censorship of conservative voices on social media, in favor of the fawning chorus from the mainstream media.
As for the bigger picture — will Singer and friends keep the public square safe for the 2020 elections? — Dorsey may have met his match.
See this profile from 2017 for what kind of foe Singer could be to the embattled Dorsey and the rest of the social media elite:
Elliott Management is perhaps most notorious for its 15-year battle with the government of Argentina, whose bonds were owned by the hedge fund. When Argentine president Cristina Kirchner attempted to restructure the debt, Elliott — unlike most of the bonds’ owners — refused to accept a large loss on its investment. It successfully sued in US courts, and in pursuit of Argentine assets, convinced a court in Ghana to detain an Argentine naval training vessel, then docked outside Accra with a crew of 220. After a change of its government, Argentina eventually settled and Singer’s fund received $2.4 billion, almost four times its initial investment. Kirchner, meanwhile, has been indicted for corruption.