Saudi Prince Buys Massive Stake In Twitter

From Fox Business/Reuters:


Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an investor in some of the world’s top companies, has bought a stake in Twitter for $300 million, gaining another foothold in the global media industry.

Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s king and estimated by Forbes magazine to be the 26th richest person in the world with a $19.6 billion fortune, already owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp and plans to start a cable news channel.

The purchase is remarkable because Twitter was a key means of communication for protesters in the Arab Spring revolts this year, violence that threatened Saudi Arabia until the kingdom unveiled a populist $130 billion social spending package.

Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character messages, or Tweets, to groups of followers, is one of the internet’s most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga.

The Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co investment firm, resulted from “months of negotiations”, Kingdom said.

Bernhard Warner, co-founder of analysis and advisory firm Social Media Influence, 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.

Read the entire article here.

Fun fact: Prince Al-Waleed is reportedly more secular than other members of the Saudi royal family, and was criticized by other family members (namely, his brother) for daring to suggest that Saudi women be allowed to drive.

Related: Twitter moving toward public offering.

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