Elon Musk’s surprise offer to purchase Twitter for his original price of $44 billion followed shrewd maneuvers by a board member who — along with an enormous stake in Twitter — also happens to own a piece of the Recent York Knicks and Rangers, sources tell The Post.
Egon Durban — the founder and co-CEO of Silicon Valley hedge fund Silver Lake Partners, which owns about 10% of the Knicks and Rangers — took a hardline stance in negotiations with Musk when other directors appeared willing to take a settlement to finish the legal standoff, sources near the situation said.
Ahead of his offer to pay full price for Twitter this Tuesday, Musk previously approached the corporate with multiple proposals to pay lower than $54.20 per share. Durban helped persuade fellow board members to not blink, sources said.
“I do know early on [Durban] never desired to settle,” one source near the situation said. “He desired to be certain that Elon was held accountable.”
“It’s put up or shut up time for Elon,” a source near the situation said.Getty Images
Durban was also approached months ago by Musk’s super agent friend Ari Emanuel, who tried in vain to broker a settlement, sources said. News of Emanuel’s approach was first reported by Bloomberg.
Durban’s tough stance still appears evident in Twitter’s approach to Musk’s recent offer. The Delaware Court of Chancery has ordered Musk to undergo with the unique deal by Oct. 28 or face Twitter’s lawsuit in court.
“It’s put up or shut up time for Elon,” a source near the situation said of Twitter’s position. “He doesn’t get to renegotiate the merger. He just has to attempt to close.”
Sources said Durban’s push for $54.20 per share comes largely from $1 billion in convertible Twitter shares that Silver Lake bought in March 2020. Silver Lake can redeem the shares at $41.50 a chunk, in accordance with regulatory filings.
Silver Lake owns 10% of Madison Square Garden Sports, which owns the Recent York Knicks and Rangers. NBAE via Getty Images
Durban’s big bet on Twitter could help deliver a payday for Silver Lake by offsetting any losses from this yr’s tech stock crash.
If Musk finally ends up paying $54.20 a share, Silver Lake will log a 31% return over two and a half years, filings show. If Twitter had theoretically settled and accepted $48 per share, for instance, Silver Lake would have reported a way more modest 16% return.
Private equity firms like Silver Lake are highly incentivized to deliver double-digit returns on funds. If a fund delivers an annual return of 8% or more, they typically can keep 20% of the profits — but when the return is lower than that threshold, the private equity firm doesn’t keep any of the profits.
Durban’s firm also has a history with Musk. Musk hired Silver Lake in 2018 to guide his deal team when he considered taking Tesla private together with law firm Wachtell Lipton. Wachtell has also advised Twitter in its tense negotiations with Musk.
Silver Lake, which owns a ten% stake within the Knicks and Rangers’ parent company Madison Square Garden Sports, declined to comment. Twitter also declined to comment.