Saudi Billionaire Buys Shares in Twitter

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, active Saudi global investor, has just become part owner of the

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

famous micro-blogging website Twitter for $300 million.

Breaking Into Global Communications

Alwaleed is one of the Saudi King’s nephews was estimated to be worth at least $19 billion and is already has a 7% stake in News Corps and is considering beginning his own cable news channel.

It is interesting to note that Twitter was one of the major tools used for communications between the protestors during the famed Arab Spring revolts a year ago, including violence which posed a threat to the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. The revolt was quelled after the kingdom proposed a $130 billion social spending package.

Months of Negotiations

The purchase of Twitter came after months of intense negotiations between Twitter and the Prince and his Kingdom Holding Company investment firm.

The investment transaction was what is known as a secondary transaction, which means that the shares that Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Company purchased were from shareholders already invested in Twitter, and not a direct investment in the company.

Owns Four Percent of Twitter

Chief executive of Twitter Dick Costolo said that the company is valued at about $8 billon in the secondary markets as of October, making Alwaleed’s investment worth about 4 percent of the company.

The co-founder of Social Media, a firm specializing in analysis and advice, Bernhard Warner said,

“The Arab world, of course, knows full well the value of Twitter. In the past year, it has been a force in politics, in regime change, so there is not a single person in that region in a position of influence who is not following the increasing power of Twitter.”

“(Alwaleed) must see Twitter as something that is going to be a really powerful broadcast channel,” he said, and added that the Saudis got into the internet craze relatively late, which has been a bit of a problem, and it could still be “kind of late” again to this game.

James Cannon

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]businessdistrict.com