The US government is considering national security reviews of some of Elon Musk’s ventures, including his Twitter takeover deal, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
Musk’s plans to purchase Twitter for $44 billion with the help of foreign investors, including Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and Binance Holdings — which was founded by a Chinese businessman — have concerned Biden administration officials, the people told Bloomberg.
Officials are considering which tools they could use to review Musk’s ventures, including action by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which reviews foreign takeovers of American businesses, per Bloomberg.
CFIUS carries out security reviews if a “transaction threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” according to federal regulations. When reviewing a transaction, the CFIUS can recommend to the president that a deal be suspended or prohibited, per the regulations.
If the Twitter acquisition was to be reviewed by CFIUS for national security reasons, the agency could recommend to President Biden that he nix the deal — something Musk himself has tried and failed to do in recent months.
Presidents have killed deals in the past on the recommendation of CFIUS. In 2019, former president Donald Trump blocked Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co’s attempts to acquire hotel management platform StayNTouch after a recommendation from CFIUS.
After initially offering to buy Twitter in April, Musk tried to back out of the deal, claiming the social-media platform had failed to comply with its obligation to disclose the number of bots on the platform. Shortly after his reversal on the acquisition, Twitter sued Musk, accusing him of not honoring his obligations. The billionaire in October offered again to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
Twitter shares fell 13% in premarket trading Friday after Bloomberg’s report Thursday.
A Twitter user replied to a post about the Bloomberg article saying “it would be hysterical if the government stopped Elon from over paying for Twitter.” Musk replied to the tweet with the “100” emoji and a rolling-on-the-floor-laughing emoji.
“Consistent with law and practice, CFIUS does not publicly comment on transactions that it may or may not be reviewing,” a government spokesperson told Insider.