Saudi Prince buys a ‘strategic stake’ in Twitter

A member of the Saudi royal family has just invested US$300-million in Twitter.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, CEO and founder of the Kingdom Holding Company — also one of the wealthiest people on the planet–, announced his investment in the company reports Bloomberg.

The decision to acquire a “strategic stake” in Twitter is apparently the result of “several months of negotiations and comprehensive due diligence,” Kingdom Holding said in a statement. The Riyadh-based company, is controlled by Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.

“Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” said Prince Alwaleed.

The continually growing power of social networks has clearly not gone unnoticed. Samer Darwiche, an analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai believes that “Kingdom realizes the importance of social networks like Twitter and their future growth prospects, and decided to benefit from this trend.”

“We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend,” said KHC Executive Director Eng. Ahmed Halawani.

Earlier this year Twitter raised a new round of funding from DST Global, along with several of its previous investors. The company’s aim was to raise about US$800-million. It was rumoured that Twitter hoped to use some of the money to buy back shares from employees and earlier backers. The investment valued the social network at US$8-billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Former Mashable editor-at-large, Ben Parr speculates about the reasons for the investment citing possible curbing of revolutionary tendencies following the Arab Spring:

“One could speculate that the Twitter investment is related to the wave of revolutions that have swept the Middle East in 2011. Prince Al-waleed bin Talal is not an immediate successor to King Abdullah’s throne, but a revolution would certainly not be in his best interests.”



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