Summary List Placement
Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z are officially in business together, cementing a relationship that seems to have formed on the beaches of Hawaii and off the coast of the Hamptons.
Square and Tidal announced on Thursday that the fintech company would take a majority stake in the music-streaming platform. The widely anticipated deal was first reported last December after several photos surfaced of the two moguls vacationing together.
According to The New York Times’ Katherine Rosman, the duo started hashing out the deal beginning “a few months ago.”
Jesse Dorogusker, an executive at Square who will lead Tidal in the interim, told The Times that the deal “started as a conversation between the two of them” and that “they found that sense of common purpose.”
Though it’s unclear when the two moguls met, Dorsey has admired Jay-Z’s business acumen since at least 2015, and in the wake of the deal, the two men have publicly praised each other as visionary leaders.
Here’s where their friendship began and everything that’s happened since.
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Jay-Z is a rapper and business tycoon worth $1 billion.
The 51-year-old mogul grew up in the Marcy housing project in Brooklyn, New York, and launched his rap career as a teenager. He founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995 after he was unable to find a major label that would sign him.
His rap career has since netted him 22 Grammys and millions in earnings, but he has also launched multiple other business ventures: the clothing company Rocawear, which he sold for $204 million in 2007; a stake in D’Ussé, a cognac made by Bacardi; and Tidal, the music streaming service he bought for $56 million in 2015.
He recently sold half of Armand de Brignac, a champagne company he purchased in 2014, to LVMH, the French luxury house that also owns Dom Pérignon.
In addition, he founded entertainment company Roc Nation in 2008 which is home to artists like Rihanna and Alicia Keys and has a major deal with the NFL.
He became the first billionaire in hip-hop in 2019.
Jack Dorsey is the billionaire CEO of both Twitter and Square.
The 44-year-old dual CEO cofounded Twitter in 2006 and was booted from the chief executive role two years later. He stayed on as chairman of the board and returned to the helm of the social networking firm in 2015 — in the intervening years, Twitter went public, making Dorsey a billionaire.
In 2009, he founded Square, which let business owners more easily accept credit card payments. The fintech firm went public in 2015 and is now where the majority of Dorsey’s wealth derives from. In April 2020, Dorsey announced that he would put $1 billion of his Square equity into a fund that supports coronavirus relief and other aid efforts.
Dorsey was nearly ousted from the CEO role at Twitter once again in early 2020 by hedge fund Elliott Management, which argued that Dorsey wasn’t focused enough on the company due to his other job at Square. But he hung onto his title and remains at the helm of Twitter.
Dorsey is currently worth an estimated $12.5 billion.
Dorsey appears to have admired Jay-Z since at least 2015, when he tweeted at the rapper about how much he was enjoying Tidal.
I appreciate & respect people who depart from their strengths and take on new challenges. Been using Tidal & dig it! https://t.co/KY8TBJjrfO
Dorsey has gotten involved with Jay-Z’s philanthropic endeavors. In April, he teamed up with Jay-Z and Rihanna to create $6.3 million in grants to support coronavirus relief efforts.
Source: Clara Lionel Foundation
In May, Dorsey donated $10 million to Reform Alliance, a nonprofit focused on prison reform. The organization was founded by Jay-Z, rapper Meek Mill, and billionaire Michael Rubin.
Source: Rolling Stone
Beginning in August, Jay-Z and Dorsey were spotted out in public together multiple times — first, on a walk in the Hamptons.
Jay-Z Hangs Out with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in the Hamptons https://t.co/PHA35XTEPh
That same month, Dorsey joined Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and their kids aboard a yacht. Dorsey and Jay-Z were photographed sipping rosé as the boat cruised around the waterways of the Hamptons.
Source: Page Six
Jay-Z name-checked Dorsey in a feature on the song “Entrepreneur” by Pharrell Williams: “Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you? / For every one Gucci, support two FUBUs.”
The two moguls were then photographed on a beach in Hawaii last November, joined by actor Sean Penn.
Source: Daily Mail
In February, Dorsey and Jay-Z announced they were teaming up on a bitcoin endowment called “₿trust,” which is focused on developing the cryptocurrency in India and Africa. The endowment is being funded by with an initial investment of 500 bitcoin.
Source: Business Insider
Rumors began swirling in December that Jay-Z and Dorsey were working on a deal when Bloomberg reported that Square was in talks to buy Tidal as part of an ongoing strategy to shore up standalone services in its portfolio. For its part, Tidal has secured exclusive releases from major artists including Rihanna and Beyoncé, but hasn’t overtaken rivals like Spotify or Apple Music.
Source: Business Insider
Then, in March, Square announced that it would take a majority stake in Tidal for $297 million through a mix of cash and stock. Dorsey said Square will start integrating its services into artists’ merchandise sales, new listening experiences and collaboration tools, and “complementary revenue streams.”
Source: Business Insider
Dorsey wrote on Twitter that he’s inspired to work with Jay-Z and is “grateful for Jay’s vision, wisdom, and leadership.” He posted a photo of them appearing to hash out the deal over a bottle of wine.
I’m grateful for Jay’s vision, wisdom, and leadership. I knew TIDAL was something special as soon as I experienced it, and I’m inspired to work with him. He’ll now help lead our entire company, including Seller and the Cash App, as soon as the deal closes. https://t.co/YRfYjcWJQx pic.twitter.com/xBtq2xfwue
As part of the deal, Jay-Z will join the board of Square. He tweeted that he and Dorsey have a “shared vision” and that “Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times.”