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Banks return to finance plans for Elon Musk's $44bn Twitter takeover

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Banks have started to send $13bn in cash backing Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter according to people familiar with the matter, the latest sign the $44bn deal for the social-media company is on track to close by the end of the week after months of twists and turns.

Musk late on October 25 sent a so-called borrowing notice to the banks that agreed to provide him with the debt for the purchase, one of the people said. That kicked off a process that is currently underway by which banks will deposit funds they are on the hook for into an escrow account after hammering out final details of the debt contracts, the people said.

Once final closing conditions are met, the funds will be made available for Musk to execute the transaction by the 28 October deadline.

It indicates the deal is on track to close, after Musk visited Twitter’s San Francisco office on October 26. “Entering Twitter HQ—let that sink in!” Musk tweeted, along with a video of himself walking into Twitter’s headquarters carrying a white basin.

Twitter employees told in an internal message that they would hear directly from Musk on 28 October, according to an internal note reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The billionaire also changed the bio description on his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and added his location as “Twitter HQ.”

Funding notices are typically sent three to five days in advance of when the money is needed. In normal circumstances, such documents are part of the mundane deal-closing procedures handled by back-office staffers that receive little to no mention. But after Musk spent months trying to back out of the deal to buy Twitter before flip-flopping and agreeing to go through with it earlier this month, Wall Street and Silicon Valley alike have been on high alert for evidence that he will actually follow through.

If Musk proceeds to close the deal as the signs currently suggest, it would bring to an end a six-month-long corporate drama and Twitter would cease to be publicly traded, with its current shareholders receiving $54.20 a share. The outspoken billionaire entrepreneur is expected to take the influential platform in a new direction, having floated ideas for changing Twitter, including by limiting content moderation and ushering in a new business model.

As recently as earlier this month, Musk was slated to face Twitter in a Delaware court over the stalled deal. He had argued the company misled him about its business including the amount of spam on its platform. Twitter countered that he was looking for an out after a market downturn gave him cold feet.

Then, in the days before he was to sit for a deposition, Musk changed his position again and proposed closing the deal at the original price. The judge presiding over the legal clash postponed a trial scheduled to start on October 17 and gave Musk until October 28 to close the deal.

Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick said if the deal doesn’t close by that date, the parties should contact her to schedule a November trial.

The closing of the deal won’t be the end of the story for the banks that agreed to help fund it, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Barclays. They are likely to hold on to the debt rather than sell it to third-party investors, as is the norm in such deals, until the new year or later, people familiar with the matter have said. Those lenders could face upward of $500m in losses if they tried to sell Twitter’s debt at current market levels, as many investors are worried about a recession and curbing new exposure to risky bonds and loans.

— Alexa Corse and Lauren Thomas contributed to this article.

Write to Laura Cooper at laura.cooper@wsj.com, Alexander Saeedy at alexander.saeedy@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

This article was published by The Wall Street Journal, part of Dow Jones Newswires

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https://bigger.ga/banks-return-to-finance-plans-for-elon-musks-44bn-twitter-takeover/

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