Thousands of private texts and Skype communications were obtained by revealing Holmes had no doubt in herself or Theranos, the blood-testing firm she established. They also disclose that Holmes talked Balwani about pursuing high-profile investors who ended up donating hundreds of millions of dollars to Theranos.
“As of tonight and forevermore, this is my new life: – complete confidence in myself greatest business person of the year – attention – excellence in details – don’t care what anyone thinks – engage staff in meetings by telling tales and making it about them (i.e. planning ahead of time”),” In November 2014, Holmes texted Balwani.
“No response?” Ten minutes later, Holmes texted again. “Wonderful,” Balwani said. You’re listening and paying attention…”
“Just finished calls,” Holmes texted Balwani later that month. In for 50 is Alice Walton. Greg has 100 percent confirmed.” She’s presumably alluding to Walmart’s Alice Walton. Greg’s true identity is unknown. In 2014, the Walton family invested a total of $150 million in Theranos.
“Awesome,” Balwani replied. Today I was pondering. They’re not investing in our business; they’re investing in our future.” That turned out to be a foreboding forecast, as Theranos went bankrupt in 2018, and the two are now accused of orchestrating a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to deceive investors and patients about the company.
Both Holmes and Balwani are charged with ten charges of wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy. They’ve both entered not guilty pleas. Last month, Holmes’ trial began. Balwani will be tried separately next year.
A few minutes later, Holmes texted Balwani, saying, “Rupert over 100,” referring to media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who is one of Theranos’ high-profile investors. Murdoch put $125 million into the business.
Balwani replied, “Can’t wait to learn more about Rupert’s chat.” “Excellent :)” “He would have met longer,” Holmes added.
The roughly 600 pages of private messages date from June 2011 through July 2016. According to financial sources, the texts also reveal details about Holmes and Balwani’s high-flying lifestyle when Theranos was draining hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Mary Meeker trying to get me to stay private, raise large $$$, and go and think bigger,” Holmes texted Balwani in March 2015.
Meeker is a partner at Bond Capital and a well-known venture capitalist. Her yearly Internet Trends report, a presentation of dozens of slides detailing the biggest trends for investors, has made her famous in the internet business. Reached out to Meeker for comment, but he did not answer.
“I’m not sure if these are options, but from Dan: presidential suite at Four Seasons $3k, Mandarin apex suite view of strip $3400 or presidential $15k, or encore junior suite $700 view of the golf course,” Holmes’ brother, Christian, texted her and Balwani about a planned trip to Las Vegas in April 2015.
The group was arranging a weekend excursion, according to a source who worked at Theranos and was aware of the trip. The employee remembers that period as a very trying one at the organization, with high-profile departures such as lab head Adam Rosendorff’s abrupt resignation. It’s unclear whether Theranos covered the costs of the trip.
“People would just vanish and go without jobs, and it was evident the company was coming to a halt,” the former Theranos employee explained. “That raises a big red flag.”
Balwani appears to admit the ill-timed trip in a series of text exchanges dated April 2015. He texted Holmes, “The Vegas getaway is such a diversion.” It was a bad omen. The guys, on the other hand, made non-refundable purchases. So that’s what we’ll do. But until we win, I don’t want any distractions.”
“Then let’s focus on it in our hotel, eat supper, and come back early,” Holmes replied. “I’m not a fan of distractions at all.”
“Dinner can try the three-star Michelin French in MGM – can simply try all the top nationally-ranked ones and see what we get,” Holmes wrote in another text to Balwani about high-end bookings.
“Got a table at XS dance [floor],” Balwani added in another exchange. Balwani told Holmes a few minutes later, “Getting private security for u.” “Do you have private security?” The response came from Holmes. “We had one dedicated security guard with us the entire night,” revealed Balwani.
In October 2015, then-Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou highlighted Theranos’ troubles. The text exchanges uncovered by show Balwani and Holmes talking about Carreyrou.
Both Holmes and Balwani had consented to be interviewed by Carreyrou, but neither had agreed. Balwani texted, “I didn’t have to meet with someone who was attacking me.”
Jeffrey Coopersmith, Balwani’s lawyer, declined to comment. The lawyers for Holmes did not respond to a request for comment.