Friday, November 8, 2013

Big Pay Day For Twitter Investor Suhail Rizvi

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 Photo Courtesy: Valley Wag
Suhail Rizvi was born in India and 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, according to Times of India.

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.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American Tech Founder Files For IPO

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fireeye Goes Public

Pakistani-American Shahid Khan Richest South Asian in America

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 

US Promoting Venture Capital & Private Equity in Pakistan

Pakistani-American Population Growth Second Fastest Among Asian-Americans

Edible Arrangements: Pakistani-American's Success Story

Pakistani-American Elected Mayor

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan


Anonymous said...

He is Indian muslim. Why are you so happy?

Riaz Haq said...

Suhail Rizvi is a 47-year-old self-made rich man who left India and came to the United States when he was only 5. He is essentially a product of America, not of India.

This post is a tribute to America as a land of opportunities for people who would have a very hard time succeeding at home unless they inherited something like a running business and some wealth as Indian Muslim Azim Premji did....Premji is an exception because as a rule an average Indian Muslim is worse off than a Dalit, according to Indian govt's own data.

Ali said...

"This post is a tribute to America as a land of opportunities...". If this post is about only America, then why not a single post from you about many Jews who became successful after coming to America?

Riaz Haq said...

Ali: "why not a single post from you about many Jews who became successful after coming to America?"

Jews have been here for over half a century and built this country after WW II. I have written many times about successful, powerful Jews in Washington, on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

Anonymous said...

As an Indian Muslim I'm impressed with the recent launch of Mars Mission by India. Hope some Muslim country can emulate it as we'll. Being from an science field with friends from Hindu as we'll as Muslim background we often talk about scientific progress across the globe and it seems the more open a country is towards science and not involved in social and religious issues of common people the more technologically advanced they are.

India and other developing countries need to focus on science and technology so that we can provide good lifestyle to its citizens.

Anwar Thondakil

Riaz Haq said...

#Harvard educated, #GoldmanSachs alum #Indian-#American #Muslim VC charged with insider trading.Flees to #India

A boyish 43 years old, Iftikar Ahmed ticked every box of the immigrant success story, going from Harvard Business School to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and then landing as a partner at one of the oldest venture-capital firms in the country. He and his wife owned a mansion in Greenwich, Conn., and two apartments on Park Avenue in Manhattan, and gave large sums to local and Indian charities.

Yet before Mr. Ahmed fled the U.S. in May, he allegedly stole $65 million through a series of frauds that prosecutors and regulators said became increasingly brazen over the years and that exploited the trust-based culture of the venture-capital firm, Oak Investment Partners. Regulators said Mr. Ahmed began to commit fraud within months of joining Oak in 2004.

Mr. Ahmed’s former colleagues at Norwalk, Conn.-based Oak found that he used doctored deal documents, phony exchange rates and fake invoices to siphon off millions of dollars into secret bank accounts, according to prosecutors and regulators. Oak made the discoveries only after Mr. Ahmed was arrested on insider-trading charges unrelated to his work at the firm.

In a civil lawsuit in May against Mr. Ahmed alleging fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission said there were at least nine companies in which Mr. Ahmed allegedly manipulated Oak investments to enrich himself.

Massaging Figures
In December, Mr. Ahmed persuaded fellow Oak partners they should pay $20 million for a $2 million stake in a Hong Kong-based online retailer, pocketing the $18 million difference, the government alleged.

Oak executives later testified that they didn’t learn of the actual $2 million sale price until after Mr. Ahmed’s arrest, even though the seller disclosed it in a news release, according to court filings and people familiar with the matter. Oak executives said they also found Mr. Ahmed had massaged financial projections for the Hong Kong company, adding a “1” in front of the revenue figure, to make its sales appear far healthier than they were, according to court documents.

Oak officials didn’t independently verify much of the information Mr. Ahmed provided them, according to court documents and testimony as part of the SEC fraud case. Grace Ames, Oak’s chief operating officer, told a federal court in July: “There is a basis of trust that’s required within the partnership.”

The SEC and prosecutors didn’t name any companies involved, but the Hong Kong retailer was Giosis Mecox Lane, according to people familiar with the matter.

A representative of Giosis Mecox Lane, which sells apparel and lifestyle accessories, couldn’t be reached for comment. A representative of Mecox Lane Ltd., the company that sold its stake to Oak, declined to comment.

Arrest and Flee
After Mr. Ahmed was arrested in May on federal insider-trading charges, he surrendered U.S. and Indian passports, according to court records. In May, he fled the country using an expired passport, according to court documents. He is now a fugitive. Mr. Ahmed couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Ahmed is believed to be in India, according to his lawyer, Alex Lipman. The former executive needs authorities’ permission to leave India, after being held in prison for 61 days until July 23 for allegedly entering the country illegally, Mr. Lipman said. He faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years in the U.S. if convicted of insider trading.

In the U.S., the venture-capital industry is still agog over the plight of Mr. Ahmed, known as “Ifty” to friends and colleagues.

Riaz Haq said...

Playboy, which had gone public in 1971, was taken private again in 2011 by Mr. Hefner with Rizvi Traverse Management, an investment firm founded by Suhail Rizvi, a publicity-shy Silicon Valley investor, who has interests in Twitter, Square and Snapchat among others. The firm now owns over 60 percent. Mr. Hefner owns about 30 percent (some shares are held by Playboy management).

The magazine is profitable if money from licensed editions around the world is taken into account, Mr. Flanders said, but the United States edition loses about $3 million a year. He sees it, he said, as a marketing expense. “It is our Fifth Avenue storefront,” he said.

He and Mr. Jones feel that the magazine remains relevant, not least because the world has gradually adopted Mr. Hefner’s libertarian views on a variety of social issues. Asked whether Mr. Hefner’s views on women were the exception to that rule, Mr. Flanders responded that Mr. Hefner had “always celebrated the beauty of the female figure.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Mr. Jones said of the decision to dispense with nudity, “12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.”


As part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy will still feature women in provocative poses. But they will no longer be fully nude.

Its executives admit that Playboy has been overtaken by the changes it pioneered. “That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.

Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Many of the magazines that followed it have disappeared. Though detailed figures are not kept for adult magazines, many of those that remain exist in severely diminished form, available mostly in specialist stores. Penthouse, perhaps the most famous Playboy competitor, responded to the threat from digital pornography by turning even more explicit. It never recovered.

Previous efforts to revamp Playboy, as recently as three years ago, have never quite stuck. And those who have accused it of exploiting women are unlikely to be assuaged by a modest cover-up. But, according to its own research, Playboy’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, along with those of Apple and Nike. This time, as the magazine seeks to compete with younger outlets like Vice, Mr. Flanders said, it sought to answer a key question: “if you take nudity out, what’s left?”

It is difficult, in a media market that has been so fragmented by the web, to imagine the scope of Playboy’s influence at its peak. A judge once ruled that denying blind people a Braille version of it violated their First Amendment rights. It published stories by Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami among others, and its interviews have included Malcolm X, Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter, who admitted that he had lusted in his heart for women other than his wife. Madonna, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell posed for the magazine at the peak of their fame. Its best-selling issue, in November of 1972, sold more than seven million copies.