Elon Musk’s Private Messages with Billionaire Pals

Private messages between the billionaire and peers depict his process when he has an idea.

In Musk v. Twitter, a part of the business life of the richest man in the world is revealed. 

Private messages exchanged with his inner circle immerse us into his process when he conceives an idea.

The messages were released by the Delaware Chancery Court as part of the proceedings between the two parties. 

The revelation of these private messages is undoubtedly one of the reasons which led the billionaire to put back on the table his offer to acquire the platform for $44 billion. And to demand that Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report drop its legal action in exchange.

You can read them here.

Here are messages Musk exchanged with billionaire friends about Twitter.

Getty Images/TS

Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-Founder 

Jack Dorsey, is CEO of fintech Block, formerly Square. He co-founded Twitter and was still CEO until 2020. He’s on Musk’s phone as JackJack.

He wrote on March 26:

Dorsey: “yes, a new platform is needed. It can’t be a company. This is why I left.

Musk: Ok

What should it look like?

Dorsey: I believe it must be an open source protocol, funded by a foundation of sorts that doesn’t own the protocol, only advances it. A bit like what Signal has done. It can’t have an advertising model. Otherwise you have surface area that governments and advertisers will try to influence and control. If it has a centralized entity behind it, it will be attacked. This isn’t complicated work, it just has to be done right so it’s resilient to what has happened to twitter.

Musk: Super interesting idea

Dorsey: I’m off the Twitter board mid May and then completely out of company. I intend to do this work and fix our mistakes. Twitter started as a protocol. It should have never been a company. That was the original sin.

Musk: I’d like to help if I am able to.

Dorsey: I wanted to talk with you about it after I was all clear, because you care so much, get it’s importance, and could def help in immeasurable ways. Back when we had the activist come in, I tried my hardest to get you on our board, and our board said no. That’s about the time I decided I needed to work to leave, as hard as it was for me.

Musk: Do you have a moment to talk?

Dorsey: Bout to head out to dinner but can for a minute.

I think the main reason is the board is just super risk averse and saw adding you as more risk, which I thought was completely stupid and backwards, but I only had one vote, and 3% of company, and no dual class shares. Hard set up. We can discuss more.

Musk: Let’s definitely discuss more

Musk and Dorsey had several more exchanges.

Larry Ellison, Oracle co-Founder

Ellison texted Musk on March 27.

Ellison: Elon, I’d like to chat with you in the next day or so … I do think we need another Twitter.

Musk: Want to talk now?

Ellison: Sure

On April 20, Musk writes to Ellison asking if he wants to help fund the operation.

Musk: Any interest in participating in the Twitter deal?

Ellison: Yes…of course.

Musk: Roughly what dollar size? Not holding you to anything, but the deal is oversubscribed, so I have to reduce or kick out some participants.

Ellison: A billion…or whatever you recommend

Musk: Whatever works for you. I’d recommend maybe $2B or more. This has very high potential and I’d rather have you than anyone else.

Ellison: I agree that it has huge potential…and it would be a lot of fun

Sam Bankman-Fried, Founder and CEO of Crypto Platform FTX.com

On April 1, SBF as he is nicknamed in the crypto community, sends a message to Musk.

SBF: Great to meet you Elon – Happy to chat about Twitter (or other things) whenever!

Musk: Hi

Maybe we can talk later today? I’m in Germany.

SBF: I’m on EST – could talk sometime between 7pm and 10pm Germany time today?

April 14 SBF writes again to Musk. That day, Tesla’s CEO announced a solicited $44 billion bid to acquire the platform.

SBF: Btw Elon – would love to talk about Twitter. Also a post on how blockchain + Twitter could work.

The two billionaires had been put in contact by Will MacAskill, Oxford philosophy professor. MacAskill talks about SBF to Musk on March 29 as a possible financial partner in a possible acquisition of Twitter.

MacAskill: Hey – I saw your poll on twitter about Twitter and free speech. I’m not sure if this is what’s on your mind, but my collaborator [crypto investor and FTX CEO] Sam Bankman-Fried has for a while been potentially interested in purchasing it and then making it better for the world. If you want to talk to him about a possible joint effort in that direction, his number is [redacted] and he’s on Signal.

Musk: Does he have huge amounts of money?

MacAskill, March 30: Depends on how you define “huge”! He’s worth $24B, and his early employees (with shared values) bump that to $30B. I asked about how much he could in principle contribute and he said ”~$1-3B would be easy `$3-8b I could do ~8-15b is maybe possible but would require financing.

If you were interested to discuss the idea and he said he’d be down to meet you in Austin.

Reid Hoffman, co-Founder and executive Chairman of LinkedIn

On April 27, two days after Twitter accepted Musk’s acquisition offer, Hoffman offered to put the billionaire in touch with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Hoffman: Great. I will put you in touch with Satya

Hoffman: Elon, Satya: as indicated, this connects the two of you by text and phone

Hoffman: It’s way beyond my resources. I presume you are not interested in venture $.

Musk: There is plenty of financial support but you’re a friend, so just letting you know you’d get priority. VC money is fine if you want.

Hoffman: Very cool! OK- If I were to put together $, what size could you make available?

Musk: Whatever you’d like. I will just cut back others.

Musk: I would need to know the approximate by next week

Hoffman: What would be the largest $ that would be ok? I consulted with our LPs, and I have strong demand. Would be fun !

Musk: $2B?

Hoffman: Great. Probably doable – let me see.

Musk: Can be less if easier. The round is oversubscribed, so I just have to tell other investors what their allocation is ideally by early next week.

Musk: Should I connect you with the Morgan Stanley team?

Hoffman: Yes please. Especially with the terms, etc. I know Michael Grimes, btw.

Musk: Please feel free to call him directly

Hoffman: OK. – I’ll do that. (Trying to simplify your massively busy life.)

Musk: The Morgan Stanley deal team is truly excellent and I don’t say such things lightly.

Hoffman: Indeed! I took LI public and the MSFT-LI deal with them!

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