Twitter ramps up efforts to fight off Musk’s hostile takeover

Twitter has brought on a second investment bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co. to help it respond to Elon Musk’s hostile bid, according to people familiar with the matter.

The largest US bank started work recently to assist Twitter in talks with potential buyers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Representatives for Twitter and JPMorgan declined to comment.

Besides Musk’s offer, Twitter has been fielding takeover interest from other parties, including technology-focused private equity firm Thoma Bravo, according to one of the people familiar. The New York Post reported Thoma Bravo’s interest on Thursday.

A representative for Thoma Bravo declined to comment.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:

“Musk could decide to partner with Oracle, whose co-founder Larry Ellison sits on Tesla’s board and has expressed interest in acquiring social media company TikTok’s U.S. assets, and a private equity consortium that includes Thoma Bravo to thwart Twitter’s poison pill, while raising the bid 10-15% to about $50 billion.”

–Mandeep Singh, BI senior technology industry analyst

In bringing on JPMorgan, Twitter is working with a bank that hasn’t been afraid to wrangle with Musk. JPMorgan and Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla Inc. have been embroiled in lawsuits.

They are suing each other over stock transactions, some that are linked to Musk’s tweet in 2018 that he had secured the funding to take Tesla private, an effort that was given up weeks later. The two sides are scheduled to appear in court next week.

JPMorgan is the latest Wall Street heavyweight to become involved with Musk’s quest to buy Twitter, and joins Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in helping deal with the 50-year-old billionaire. Morgan Stanley is working with Musk.

Missing Out

JPMorgan’s involvement is also a blow to the boutique investment banks, which have been increasingly competing for market share against the bulge brackets.

Twitter was advised by boutique advisory firm Allen & Co. in 2020 when the company was tussling with activist investor Elliott Investment Management, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

This time around, no boutique investment bank appears to be involved although companies tend to add on more advisers as transactions drag on.

Goldman, which has been historically close to Musk, including being the lead bank in 2018’s failed attempt to take Tesla private, was conflicted from advising the billionaire due to its longstanding relationship with Twitter.

Twitter adopted a so-called poison pill on Friday, a measure to help shield it from Musk acquiring more of the company. The move could buy the board more time to decide how to proceed.

Read: Elon Musk launches R630 billion hostile takeover of Twitter