“Chief Twit” and tech billionaire Elon Musk has slammed recent reports claiming that the disgraced former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has a $100 million stake on Twitter.
Musk called out Business Insider early Wednesday after the publication’s official Twitter account shared a link to its report claiming that Bankman-Friend “owns $100 million stake in Elon Musk’s Twitter.”
The said report cited an article written by the Wall Street Journal’s Liz Hoffman for Semafor, which said that while the new Twitter owner was using the platform to “mock the meltdown of the crypto exchange FTX” and its former CEO, he failed to disclose that “he texted Bankman-Fried just after midnight and invited him to roll the $100 million stake he had owned for a few months into a privately held Twitter.”
The Semafor piece further claimed that “Bankman-Fried owns a sizable chunk of a now privately-held and debt-laden Twitter, according to an FTX balance sheet prepared after the takeover closed on Oct. 28 and circulated to investors earlier this month, which listed Twitter shares as an ‘illiquid’ asset.” The article also claimed that Bankman-Fried’s pre-existing Twitter shares were injected into the company that Musk now owns, citing unpublished text messages.
Reacting to Business Insider’s tweet, Musk noted that its report was “false” and even called the news site “not a real publication.”
Interestingly, after the Semafor article was published and posted on Twitter Tuesday, Musk came up with a tweet questioning its journalistic integrity and pointing out that since Semafor is owned by Bankman-Fried, its report on the matter is a “massive conflict of interest.”
His tweet was answered by Semafor editor in chief Ben Smith, who wrote, “Like you and many others, we took an investment from him. We have covered him aggressively, and disclose it every time we write about him.”
“As I said, neither I nor Twitter has taken any investment from SBF/FTX. Your article is a lie. Now, I’m asking again, how much of you does SBF own,” Musk replied.
When asked if Bankman-Fried still has Twitter shares, Musk responded, “No. He may have owned shares in Twitter as a public company, but he certainly does not own shares in Twitter as a private company.”
It can be recalled that in a leaked conversation between Musk and Michael Grimes, it was highlighted that Bankman-Fried, through a representative, expressed his willingness to contribute as much as $10 billion to his bid to acquire Twitter. After the conversation became public, Musk confirmed it and even said he did not believe Bankman-Fried was “$3 billion liquid.”