Elon Musk’s Twitter Gambit Tees Up a Who’s In-or-Out White Knight List

Twitter Inc., which is trying to defend itself against Elon Musk’s $43 billion takeover bid, has a poison pill in place, so the next obvious move on the hostile M&A to-do list is likely already being contemplated: a white knight.

White knights ride in as rival buyers to save companies pursued by unwelcome suitors, often sparking a bidding war that benefits the target’s shareholders no matter who wins. Let’s game out which of the potential bidders now lighting up Twitter feeds may or may not come to the company’s rescue, including some wild cards.

Who’s Out

Alternative asset manager giant Apollo Global Management Inc. is interested in helping finance a bid for Twitter, likely through its credit arm. It owns internet sites Yahoo and AOL, but it has ruled out a full-on takeover of Twitter.

The Walt Disney Co. once considered buying Twitter when Bob Iger was chief executive officer but backed off over content concerns. It has too much on its plate already with challenges in growing its streaming business and the war going on with Florida politicians.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the world’s largest bank, is conflicted out of working for Musk (notwithstanding its lawsuit against Tesla), since its tech bankers are advising Twitter.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. is the least likely of tech’s big four to even consider taking part in a Twitter deal. As it is, lawmakers by the score already accuse it of using acquisitions to thwart competitors and want to break it up. Twitter would only give Facebook more control over social media, where it’s by far the biggest player.

With a board seat on Twitter, Silver Lake Management LLC -- for now -- would have a conflict of interest if it tried to buy the company outright. The technology-focused private equity firm also has a standstill agreement as part of a settlement with Twitter, so it couldn’t start buying up shares without ending that accord.