It is very curious that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has made an investment worth $300 million in Twitter. It has no apparent connection with the recent activists using Twitter as a medium to express their opinions and bring together the masses in this year’s Arab uprisings. But Chief Executive Dick Costolo has often said that Twitter is “the free speech wing of the free-speech party.” We completely believe that and whatever else is said in justification. According to analysts, in October of this year, Twitter was valued at about $8.4 billion, which means Prince Alwaleed’s stake should be about 3.6% of the company. That speaks for itself.
It so seems that this investment was made several months ago when existing Twitter shareholders sold $400 million of shares. In an emailed statement from Prince Alwaleed’s talks about this transaction with San-Francisco-based Twitter Inc., which he said was part of a drive “to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact.” Prince Alwaleed has focused his investments in several verticals, including banks, hotels, and media companies, such as Citigroup Inc., News Corp., Apple Inc., and Time Warner Inc. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He is also developing a new Arabic-language satellite-news channel with Bloomberg LP.
It should come as no surprise that Prince Alwaleed, the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, has been rated the Arab world’s richest businessman, with more than $21 billion in wealth in 2011 by Arabian Business magazine. This is one prince the world should watch out for. He is mighty, but with his wealth, which he uses like a hawk, his reach is spreading like a wild forest fire.