Private-equity giant Thoma Bravo (one of the first firms to become associated with Elon Musk's campaign to buy Twitter) may have backed out of the deal, but that hasn't stopped Musk from finding the money elsewhere.
According to a report published Wednesday night by the New York Post, Musk is reportedly closing in on securing $10 billion (out of the total $44 billion valuation for the deal) for his bid to buy Twitter from a group of "deep-pocketed" venture firms and family offices - although the Post report didn't name the specific firms (although it did claim that the firms had experience backing other Musk ventures, including SpaceX.
Musk has said he's trying to limit his own exposure to Twitter to just $15 billion (a pittance for the world's richest man). He has also said he hopes to turn the company around and take it public again within three years.
One of the Post's sources claimed that Musk has "[h]e has more than $10 billion of committed equity".
A source said that Musk had spent "hours" talking to Thoma Bravo founder Orlando Bravo, but in the end, one of Bravo's deputies (or perhaps several of them) ended up torpedoing the deal.
"My sense is Orlando Bravo wanted to do it but one or two of his top partners don’t want to," a second source said.
Most of the biggest buyout firms on the street have already turned Musk down, or said they would prefer to limit their exposure to debt finance (like Apollo).
Other major buyout firms including Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone and billionaire Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners also have turned Musk down altogether, a source said. Apollo Global Management, meanwhile, is only interested in providing debt financing, according to sources close to the talks.
On top of lining up the equity financing from other backers, Musk is also reportedly working on securing more than $5 billion in existing equity from previous Twitter shareholders (including Jack Dorsey and Fidelity), who - according to Musk's plan - would be allowed to roll over their shares into the new privately-owned venture.
Several banks have already said that they would rather not become directly exposed to Twitter. Citigroup, Credit Suisse and RBC have signaled that they're open to providing loans against Musk’s Tesla stock (otherwise known as a margin loan), but they have balked at providing loans against Twitter's equity because of the fact that this debt burden would eat up too much of Twitter's cash flow. One of the Post's sources said that the amount of leveraged financing in the Twitter deal was "crazy".