Unique: Musk’s banks to e-book Twitter mortgage losses, keep away from massive hits

NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) – A few of the banks that lent Elon Musk $13 billion to purchase Twitter are making ready to e-book losses on the loans this quarter, however they’re possible to take action in a means that it doesn’t change into a serious drag on their earnings, in response to three sources with direct information of the state of affairs.

Banks sometimes promote such loans to buyers on the time of the deal. However Twitter’s lenders, led by Morgan Stanley , might face billions of {dollars} in losses in the event that they tried to take action now, as buyers shrink back from shopping for dangerous debt throughout a interval of financial uncertainty, market individuals mentioned. As well as, Twitter has seen advertisers flee amid worries about Musk’s strategy to policing tweets, hitting revenues and its capability to pay the curiosity on the debt.

Banks nonetheless must mark the mortgage to its market worth on their books and put aside funds for losses which might be reported in quarterly outcomes. Within the absence of a value decided by precise gross sales of the debt, nonetheless, every financial institution can resolve how a lot to write down it down based mostly on its market checks and judgment, in response to the three sources who’re accustomed to the method of figuring out the worth of such loans.

The most important chunk of the debt — $10 billion price of loans secured by Twitter’s belongings — may need to be written down by as a lot as 20%, one of many sources mentioned. The hit on the mortgage, distributed amongst seven banks, might in all probability be managed by many of the companies with out creating a big hit to earnings, the supply added.

One other one of many three sources with direct information of the matter estimated that some banks may solely take a 5% to 10% writedown on the secured portion of the mortgage.

The deliberations of how a few of these banks are eager about accounting for these losses haven’t been beforehand reported. They arrive as Wall Road banks are bracing for decrease fourth-quarter earnings on account of a droop in funding banking income and an increase in loan-loss reserves amid a weakening world financial system.

Three banking business sources mentioned the remaining $3 billion, which is unsecured, might result in steeper losses for the seven Twitter banks. Reuters couldn’t decide how a lot the banks had been planning to write down down the unsecured portion of the debt.

The lenders have thought-about changing the unsecured a part of the debt with a mortgage to Musk backed by his shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), the electrical carmaker, one of many sources accustomed to the talks mentioned. Musk, nonetheless, has mentioned it’s best to keep away from such loans within the present macroeconomic setting. Bloomberg beforehand reported the margin mortgage risk.

Apart from Morgan Stanley, the syndicate contains Financial institution of America Corp (BAC.N), Barclays Plc , Mitsubishi UFJ Monetary Group Inc (8306.T), BNP Paribas SA (BNPP.PA), Mizuho Monetary Group Inc (8411.T) and Societe Generale SA (SOGN.PA).

SocGen, Musk and representatives for Twitter didn’t reply to emailed requests for remark. Representatives from the opposite banks declined to remark.


Beneath accounting requirements, the banks should mark the mortgage to its market worth when a few of them report earnings for the fourth quarter in January, a number of bankers and accountants mentioned.

However with market exercise coming to a standstill, the banks have a good quantity of flexibility on easy methods to worth them, which implies every one might worth them in a different way. Additionally they have leeway on easy methods to report any write downs and the time they take to promote the debt. Leveraged mortgage offers after the 2008 monetary disaster took years to clear.

Every financial institution would make market checks with two or three potential consumers to reach at a price of the loans, which an auditor must agree with, one of many three sources mentioned.

The individual, who’s accustomed to the pondering of one of many banks within the lending syndicate, added that some lenders are more likely to take a smaller hit initially and write it down over time if valuations maintain getting worse.

Projected losses may be divided between funding banking and buying and selling divisions, making it sufficiently small that it would not must be disclosed individually, one of many sources mentioned. Any writedowns would in all probability be damaged into chunks and unfold over a number of months, lowering the hit to earnings in anyone quarter, two of the sources with direct information of the matter mentioned.

Some market individuals anticipate the losses from the debt to be vital until market circumstances enhance. Two of the banking business sources mentioned if the banks tried to promote the loans now, they might not get greater than 60 cents to the greenback on the secured bond and a good cheaper price on the unsecured portion. That will add as much as billions of {dollars} in losses for the syndicate as an entire.

In September, Wall Road lenders led by Financial institution of America suffered a $700 million loss on the sale of about $4.55 billion in debt backing the leveraged buyout of enterprise software program firm Citrix Methods Inc.

Some $35 billion to $40 billion of such loans are caught on banks’ books, in response to two mounted earnings bankers.

Twitter’s bankers, nonetheless, are extra sanguine. “I would not wager in opposition to Elon Musk,” Morgan Stanley Chief Government James Gorman mentioned in an interview at Reuters NEXT earlier this month. “We do not get behind that form of enterprise and that form of alternative until we consider it’s actual.”

Reporting by Lananh Nguyen, Saeed Azhar and Shankar Ramakrishnan in New York, extra reporting from Matt Tracy, and Abigail Summerville; modifying by Paritosh Bansal and Claudia Parsons

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

Leave a Comment