April 26 (Reuters) – The small family office that manages the wealth of the world’s richest person and is helping to organize the biggest acquisition ever by a single person is shrouded in secrecy.
On Monday, Musk closed a deal to buy Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) for $44 billion at a pivotal moment for one of the world’s most influential public forums. read more
Musk, who is also the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and aerospace company SpaceX, revealed in a regulatory filing last week that the social media company should contact his family office as a point of contact. regarding your proposed acquisition.
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However, little is known about the Austin, Texas-based family office that manages Musk’s assets. The office is called Excession and the man who helped build it is Jared Birchall, a former Morgan Stanley (MS.N) banker who has advised Musk on his interactions with Wall Street for several years, according to regulatory and legal filings. He also hired an investigator to investigate a Musk critic whom Musk called a “fart boy” in 2018, according to court documents.
Birchall, born in 1974, was hired by Musk from Morgan Stanley in 2016 to work in his family’s office. Birchall is also the CEO of Musk’s brain chip firm Neuralink, a director of Musk’s tunneling firm The Boring Company, and a member of the board of directors of Musk’s private philanthropic foundation.
Business registration records with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts list Birchall as manager of Excession in 2021.
Birchall and Musk did not respond to requests for comment.
Birchall’s multiple roles are rare for a family office manager and illustrate Musk’s faith in him, said Raphael Amit, a management professor at the Wharton School.
“Once you appoint someone to run the family office, that means you trust them. And Elon wants to set it up in a way that allows (Birchall) maximum control.”
Morgan Stanley led the financing package for Musk’s Twitter bid and advised Musk on the success of the deal, capping several years of relationships the two built and strengthened with Birchall.
A day after Musk tweeted in August 2018 that Goldman Sachs and Silver Lake would manage his ultimately unsuccessful effort to take Tesla private, Birchall sent Musk a message encouraging a role in Morgan Stanley.
“They’ve been our best resource on the personal side, by far. They give you the largest line ($350 million) of all the lines and every time we’ve pushed them for more lending power or a lower rate, they’ve come all the way.” the end,” he wrote, according to documents unsealed during a trial over Musk’s tweets that he was considering taking Tesla private.
Musk replied: “That seems fair.”
“Excession” is also the title of a science fiction novel by Iain M. Banks about artificial intelligence that Musk was wearing at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2015.
Overstaffing: The company was made up of “essentially two people” in 2019, Musk said in a libel trial in federal court in Los Angeles at the time. The second person is unknown.
It’s not unusual to have a small group of people running a family office, industry sources said, though by contrast, billionaire Jeff Bezos’ family office is made up of more than 100 people.
There is no regulatory requirement for family offices to publicly disclose their assets or key personnel, and Excession’s holdings and the value of its assets and number of employees could not be ascertained.
A Brigham Young University graduate, Birchall began his career working at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) in New York in 1999 as a financial analyst, according to his LinkedIn profile. He then joined Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles for about a decade as a wealth manager.
Merrill Lynch fired Birchall in 2010 for “conduct that resulted in a loss of management confidence” that included “sending correspondence to a client without management approval,” according to records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). ). Reuters was unable to determine further details about Birchall’s firing, and FINRA and Merrill Lynch did not respond to requests for comment.
Less than a month later, Birchall joined Morgan Stanley as a wealth manager.
A Morgan Stanley spokesman said Birchall was well regarded when he worked at the bank and left on good terms.
Birchall’s role has extended beyond finance.
In 2018, he hired a private investigator to investigate a British diver who criticized Musk’s idea of using SpaceX’s mini-submarine to rescue a men’s soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, according to court documents.
When Musk called the diver “fart boy” in a reply on Twitter, the diver sued him for defamation. In the trial that followed, it emerged that Birchall, going by the name of James Brickhouse, had hired a private detective to investigate the diver. Birchall said in his testimony in court that he had an “instinct to protect Musk.”
Musk won the case.
“The idea of loyalty, especially in the family office, is profoundly important,” said the Wharton School’s Amit. “Because you are exposed to the most intimate and private problems that families have.”
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Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Elizabeth Dilts in New York, with additional reporting by Krystal Hu in New York and Michelle Price in Washington Editing by Peter Henderson, Greg Roumeliotis, and Matthew Lewis
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