By Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – Elon Musk said on Thursday he had lined up $46.5 billion in debt and equity financing to buy social networking company Twitter Inc and was considering taking his offer directly to shareholders, a filing shows. with US regulators.

Musk himself has pledged to provide $33.5 billion, including $21 billion in equity and $12.5 billion in margin loans against some of his Tesla Inc. stock to fund the deal. He is the CEO of the car company Tesla.

Musk, the world’s richest person according to a Forbes tally, made a “best and last” cash offer of $43 billion to Twitter’s board on April 14.

Musk’s latest move comes after Twitter failed to respond to his offer and adopted a “poison pill” to thwart the billionaire’s efforts to buy the social media platform.

Musk, Twitter’s second largest shareholder with a 9.1% stake, said he could make big changes at the microblogging company, where he has more than 80 million users.

Shares of Twitter fell less than 1% on news of the funding, indicating the market is still skeptical of the deal given Twitter is expected to reject it on price.

Tesla shares soared nearly 7% in midday trading, buoyed by better-than-expected earnings at the electric vehicle maker.

Musk owns 172.6 million shares in Tesla, according to the latest regulatory filing. On Wednesday, he qualified for compensation in the form of stock options worth about $25 billion after Tesla hit a triplet of earnings performance targets and of income.

It’s unclear whether Musk would sell his Tesla shares to cover the $21 billion equity financing.

The banks, including Morgan Stanley, agreed to provide another $13 billion in debt secured against Twitter itself, according to the filing.

A Twitter spokesperson acknowledged receipt of Musk’s proposal.

“As previously announced and communicated directly to Mr. Musk, the Board of Directors is committed to conducting a careful, complete and deliberate review to determine the course of action that it believes to be in the best interests of the company. and all Twitter shareholders,” the Twitter said. the rep said in a statement.

“I suspect this will put pressure on Twitter’s board to find a white knight, which is unlikely, or negotiate with Musk for higher value and remove the poison pill,” he said. Josh White, assistant professor of finance at Vanderbilt University and a former financial economist for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”, said the social media company needed to be private to grow and become a platform for free speech.

Musk’s offer has attracted private equity interest by participating in a deal for Twitter, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apollo Global Management Inc is exploring ways to fund any deal and is open to working with Musk or any other bidder, while Thoma Bravo has informed Twitter that he is exploring the possibility of putting together a bid.

Musk has made a number of announcements on the platform, some of which have landed him in hot water with US regulators.

In 2018, Musk tweeted that he had “secured funding” to take Tesla private for $420 a share – a move that resulted in millions of dollars in fines and forced him to resign as chairman of the company. electric car company to resolve claims by the US securities regulator that it defrauded investors.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu, Uday Sampath and Chavi Meta in Bengaluru; Hyunjoo Jin and Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Writing by Anna Driver; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Mark Porter)