Twitter, Inc. today announced that Silver Lake will make a$1 billion investment in Twitter.
Twitter also entered into a cooperation agreement with Elliott Management Corporation, an investment firm whose affiliated funds own approximately 4% percent of the company's common stock and economic equivalents.
Twitter expects to use Silver Lake's investment, together with cash on hand, to fund a $2 billionshare repurchase program that will be executed over time. In connection with the investment and the cooperation agreement, Egon Durban, co-CEO and managing partner of Silver Lake, and Jesse Cohn, partner at Elliott, will be appointed to the Twitter Board of Directors. In addition, the Twitter Board will continue the process of identifying a third new independent director.
“As a Board, we regularly review and evaluate how Twitter is run, and while our CEO structure is unique, so is Jack and so is this company,” said Patrick Pichette, lead independent director of Twitter’s board.
Twitter is one of the few U.S. technology companies headed, but not controlled, by one of its founders, Jack Dorsey. It has given shareholders equal voting rights, making Dorsey, who owns only about 2% of the company, vulnerable to a challenge from an activist investor such as Elliott.
Hoever, Jack Dorsey will remain Twitter’s CEO as part of a deal the company reached with Elliott Management.
Dorsey also runs Square Inc, a mobile payments company he co-founded.
Elliott, which has a 4% stake in Twitter, has named partner Jesse Cohn as a member of the microblogging platform’s board.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO, said, "Twitter serves the public conversation, and our purpose has never been more important. Silver Lake's investment in Twitter is a strong vote of confidence in our work and our path forward. They are one of the most respected voices in technology and finance and we are fortunate to have them as our new partner and as a member of our Board. We welcome the support of Egon and Jesse, and look forward to their positive contributions as we continue to build a service that delivers for customers, and drives value for stakeholders."
Patrick Pichette, lead independent director of the Twitter Board, said, "Twitter has undergone remarkable change over the last several years. We are deeply proud of our accomplishments and confident we are on the right path with Jack's leadership and the executive team. As a Board, we regularly review and evaluate how Twitter is run, and while our CEO structure is unique, so is Jack and so is this company. To continue to ensure strong governance, we are pleased to create a temporary Board committee that will build on our regular evaluation of Twitter's leadership structure. This committee, which I will chair, will provide a fresh look at our various structures, and report the findings to our board on an ongoing basis. In an environment where certainty is scarce, I can say with certainty that today we have taken steps to meaningfully strengthen what is already a world-class board.