Who is Twitter's mysterious 'big investor'?

/// Who is Twitter’s mysterious ‘big investor’?

October 4, 2013  |  Blog

He is thought to have been instrumental in attracting major private investors to the microblogging site, pumping more than $1bn into the business through his own and his clients’ investments.

But little is known about Suhail Rizvi, founder of New York private equity outfit Rizvi Traverse Management, who is poised to become one of the biggest winners from Twitter’s upcoming initial public offering.

Here are six of the things we do know about the enigmatic Mr Rizvi.

He has no Wikipedia page, just one picture online..and does not tweet

The 47-year-old financier who guards his secrecy so zealously that he employs a person to take down his Wikipedia entry and scrub his picture from the Internet.

The only readily found picture of Rizvi is a snapshot of him sitting with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Alwaleed in a New York hotel after the prince bought Twitter shares.

He has a big-name client list

Those who invest with Rizvi include British billionaire Richard Branson and Jeffrey Skoll, the former eBay executive and film producer, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It is not clear whether they are among the investors he brought into Twitter.

Hollywood was his first love

Before turning his attention to the Internet, Rizvi’s deal-making focused on Hollywood. He helped Hugh Hefner take Playboy Enterprises private; bought and then sold the Hollywood film studio behind the “Twilight” series; and led the buyout of a leading talent agency, International Creative Management (ICM).

Former Google executive Chris Sacca got Rizvi into Twitter

In late 2010, Sacca approached Rizvi with an offer: Sacca’s friend Evan Williams had stepped down as CEO of Twitter and was seeking to sell 10 percent of the company. Rizvi soon snapped up the shares for $340 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

He counts Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg among his neighbours

Rizvi owns a sprawling three-home compound in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a 1.65-acre Palm Beach, Florida, estate near Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg. He was born in India but moved to Iowa Falls, a town of 5,200 people, when he was five.

Rizvi’s first business venture was a telecom company

With the proceeds from the sale, he financed his first big buyout in 1995, when he bought the electronic manufacturing business of a Puerto Rico phone company. Refocusing it on making higher-cost equipment, he spent the next four years boosting the company’s annual revenue from $10 million to $450 million.

Link: Who is Twitter’s mysterious ‘big investor’?

The Telegraph – Denise Roland, and Reuters

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