Multi-Billion Dollar Pay Day for Twitter Investor Suhail Rizvi
By Riaz Haq
Suhail Rizvi's 15.6% stake in Twitter was worth $3.8 billion at the end of trading on Thursday when the social media company went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
Suhail Rizvi graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School. He started and sold a telecom company soon after, and with the proceeds financed the buy-out of an electronic manufacturing business of a Puerto Rico phone company whose annual revenue he boosted from $10 million to $450 million by focusing on higher end products.
Suhail Rizvi moved with his parents to the United States in 1971 when he was only five. His father Raza Rizvi taught psychology at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, where Suhail and his brother Ashraf, who is a hedge fund manager, went to school.
In addition to Rizvi Traverse Capital's $3.82 billion, other big winners of Twitter IPO include Evan Williams $2.55 billion, JP Morgan $2.19 billion, Spark Capital $1.46 billion, Benchmark Capital $1.42 billion, USV $1.25 billion, DST Global $1.07 billion, Jack Dorsey $1.05 billion, Dick Costolo $344 million, and Adam Bain $80 million.
Rizvi Traverse's other major investments include a controlling interest in Playboy and music rights organization Sesac, as well as stakes in news app Flipboard and Jack Dorsey's digital payments company, Square. Sources told CNBC that Rizvi invested $100 million in Facebook before its IPO and sold its shares earlier this year. It also has sold its equity stake in talent agency ICM, and in "Twilight" producer Summit Entertainment, which sold to Lionsgate.
Rizvi's biggest individual client is Prince Waleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia who invested $300 million pre-IPO in Twitter through Rizvi Traverse. Rizvi also invested JP Morgan Chase's $400 million pre-IPO in Twitter. Rizvi is reported to have used personal connections in Silicon Valley to purchase these stakes from Twitter employees.
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