Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi Arabian businessman and investor, has acquired a $300 million “strategic stake” in Twitter, following several months of negotiations.
Alwaleed, the founder and CEO of Kingdom Holdings, has a net worth of US$19.6 billion, already holds stakes in Apple, Citigroup, News Corp and General Motors, and is considered a “savvy investor” by his peers.
Prince Alwaleed, who ranked 26th on Forbes’ 2011 list of the world’s billionaires, does not use Twitter himself. But his wife, Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, has more than 81,000 followers, and made her own announcement about the business deal on Twitter earlier today.
Congratulations for Kingdom holding Investors for the Twitter announcement by KHC. Great planned move and a great investment
— Ameerah Al-TaweeL (@AmeerahAltaweeL) December 19, 2011
“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 in a statement.
Back in August Twitter announced a new round of funding that sought to raise $800 million, about half of which was to be used to buy back shares from employees and prior backers. This led to the departure of several key figures from Twitter’s board as they decided to cash out on their investment.
Despite not yet being profitable, Twitter has been valued as high as $8 billion. The platform generates revenue from advertising and strategic partnerships, and is eyeing an IPO, possibly in 2012. Twitter is expected to post ad revenues of $139.5 million in 2011.
“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 Ahmed Halawani, the Executive Director of private equity and international investments at Kingdom Holding.
Alwaleed’s involvement is considered timely.
“[He] is a savvy investor and the hot thing in the I.T. world is social networking,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities.
While Twitter has confirmed the investment in an email, terms of the investment were not disclosed.