Contrary to what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously said, it looks like Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter takeover has not been cleared from a national security review. The deal is raising concerns as his foreign partners may be able to access user data, according to Bloomberg which cited people familiar with the matter.
Secretary Yellen earlier told CBS News that she sees “no basis” for launching a review of Musk’s purchase of Twitter in late October, saying she was not aware of concerns that would make her department investigate. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, or Cfius, which reviews investment deals for potential national security risks, is under Yellen’s Treasury Department. Her remarks follow shortly after US President Joe Biden said that Musk’s foreign investors might be worth looking at.
Musk’s foreign investors include Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who already had a stake in Twitter prior to Musk’s takeover, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which was formerly based in China and is registered in the Cayman Islands.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut responded to Yellen’s remarks on Twitter on Tuesday and pointed out that “Cfius is designed to review transactions like this.”
Democratic Senator Marner of Virginia has also called for a review of the Twitter deal. Warner leads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Michael Guin, spokesman for the Treasury Department, neither confirmed nor denied if Yellen’s remarks were final, saying that Cfius doesn’t comment on deals that it may or may not be reviewing but said that Cfius is committed to safeguarding national security.
The Twitter deal isn’t the only Musk-led venture that has been linked to a Cfius review. Many of the billionaire’s pursuits intersect with the interests of the US government. He first raised what could be called Cfius-level concerns when he threatened to pull Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine and shared his unsolicited opinion on the war through a series of tweets that seemed to favor Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Concerns have also been raised over Tesla’s manufacturing site off Shanghai and its potential to be used as a leverage point by Xi Jin Ping’s regime.
Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg, CBS News, The Guardian, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.