White House assesses national security reviews at Elon Musk companies

The White House is considering subjecting some of Elon Musk’s business ventures to national security reviews, including his proposed acquisition of Twitter and his satellite internet company Starlink, according to a report.

Bloomberg wrote on Friday that Biden administration officials were concerned about the Tesla chief executive’s plan to buy Twitter in a deal funded in part by non-US investors and his recent threat to disconnect the Starlink service. towards Ukraine, as well as the publication of a series of tweets containing proposals on the Ukrainian conflict favorable to the Putin regime.

The report said US officials were concerned about Musk’s plans to buy Twitter with financial backing from non-US investors, including: Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud; Qatar Holding, which is part of the Qatar Investment Authority; and Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, whose holding company is registered in the Cayman Islands. At the time, financial backing from Musk’s co-investors was worth around $7 billion.

Musk is pushing to finalize a proposed $44 billion acquisition of Twitter before a court-mandated Oct. 28 deadline, after which he faces the threat of legal action from the platform. social media to force him to make the deal.

Bloomberg wrote that one of the avenues available to the Biden administration to investigate Musk’s businesses was through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which can review trade deals and recommend that the president suspend or to block a transaction.

In response, Elon Musk flagged a tweet on Friday that cited the Bloomberg report and said he would be “hysterical if the government stopped Elon from overpaying for Twitter.” Musk responded with a laughing emoji and the 100 emoji, indicating his support for the post.

It would be hysterical if the government stopped Elon from overpaying for Twitter 😂

— Nik “The Carny” Lentz (@NikLentz) October 21, 2022

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It would be hysterical if the government stopped Elon from overpaying for Twitter 😂

— Nik “The Carny” Lentz (@NikLentz) October 21, 2022

It’s unclear on what basis Starlink, part of Musk’s Space X rocket business, would be scrutinized by the committee.

On Saturday, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX would continue to pay for Starlink’s internet service in Ukraine, a day after suggesting it could not continue to fund the project, which he said was losing around $20 million a month. Starlink, which operates through a constellation of 3,000 small satellites in low Earth orbit, has become a key communications link for the Ukrainian military in its fight to repel the Russian invasion. There are now about 25,000 Starlink land terminals in Ukraine, according to Musk.

Musk alarmed the Kyiv government this month by posting a Twitter poll on the country’s future, with options including Russia’s annexation of Crimea formal. In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted: “Which @elonmusk do you like the most? and offered two answers: the Musk who supports Ukraine, or who supports Russia.

The US Treasury said, “CFIUS is committed to taking all necessary actions within its authority to safeguard the national security of the United States. In accordance with law and practice, CFIUS does not comment publicly on transactions that it may or may not review.

Howard Fischer, a partner at New York law firm Moses & Singer, said he didn’t expect a CFIUS investigation to hamper the Twitter deal.

“I’m skeptical that the CFIUS review will be used to significantly stop or suspend the deal,” he said. “Musk would say he’s being punished for his speech, not for the presence of foreign investors in the deal, especially given the relatively smaller size of this reported foreign investment.”

Elon Musk has been contacted for comment.

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