Elon Musk’s Twitter bid leans on a financier linked to the Russian tycoon

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) — Elon Musk’s Twitter bid, which was turned upside down by the billionaire’s threat to walk away, has drawn a host of big backers and Silicon Valley stalwarts.

But there were some notable exceptions.

At the top of that list is a Dubai-based investment firm whose assets have soared to more than US$5 billion (S$6.9 billion) under its secretive founder Alexander Tamas, documents show. regulations and people familiar with the matter.

Vy Capital – whose main website consists of one page, with no address or contact details – has pledged $700m to fund Mr Musk’s bid on the social network, making it the third-largest outside equity investor in the deal that pulled money from billionaire Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital, securities filings show.

Vy’s ability to help fund one of the biggest leveraged buyouts in history – if it goes ahead despite a dispute over fake accounts – is remarkable for a company with few public records showing its funding sources. or the nature of its investments. Vy, whose equity commitment to the US$44 billion deal exceeded those of Brookfield Asset Management and Qatar, has also backed companies such as Mr. Musk’s Boring Co. and crypto exchange ErisX. , according to data from PitchBook.

Mr. Tamas, a German national, is used to connecting with big-name investors. Before creating Vy, he worked closely with Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner and now appears to be cultivating ties with Mr Musk. He also put money into the Tesla boss’ SpaceX rocket company 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 top aide, Jared Birchall.

A 2020 document from blank check company Vy Global Growth indicates that Vy has more than $2 billion in assets under management. Those assets have since more than doubled and consist of a limited number of funds with about $1 billion to deploy, according to people familiar with the company’s operations. The funders include large US endowments, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

A Twitter account for Mr. Tamas has existed since March 2009. It has the same photo as his LinkedIn profile and a banner image showing Star Wars Stormtroopers Lego minifigures, but no messages. The account liked an April 21 tweet from Mr. Musk that called on the social media platform to authenticate “all real humans” in the bot dispute.

Although Mr. Tamas may be obscure, his connections are not.

After working on technology deals for the Goldman Sachs group in London, the German national joined Mr Milner’s investment firm, DST Global, as a partner in 2008, where he conducted lucrative bets on companies such as Airbnb, Facebook before it became Meta Platforms, as well as an early investment in Twitter.

“Human Supercomputer”

Mr. Tamas and former Goldman colleague Mateusz Szeszkowski set up Vy in 2013 with a vision “to invest in some of the world’s biggest companies and own them for decades,” according to a regulatory filing.

He now runs the fund with John Hering, founder of cloud software company Lookout, who does not mention Vy on his LinkedIn profile. Mr. Tamas and Mr. Hering hold the largest individual stakes in Vy Global Growth, according to a securities filing. One of the other investors is Javier Olivan, who will become Meta’s chief operating officer this fall.

The company’s public assets include stakes in Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify, audience tracking ComScore, online lender LendingClub and games maker Activision Blizzard, according to regulatory filings. It appears the holdings were liquidated in 2018. The company has also backed private tech companies such as Blockchain.com and Reddit.

Mr. Tamas’ expertise and investment acumen prompted venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen to dub him “Milner’s human supercomputer”. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has appointed him to an advisory council focused on the digital economy.

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