Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, nephew of the Saudi King Abdullah and flamboyant billionaire has aquired a $300 million stake in the US microblogging service, Twitter. The deal will leave him in control of a stake of about 3 per cent in the site.
The Saudi investment – a joint arrangement between the prince and the Kingdom Holding Company that he controls – came after months of talks and was a “strategic stake”, Kingdom Holding said. Prince Alwaleed – a high-profile investor in technology and media shares including News Corp and Apple – said the deal showed his enthusiasm for “promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact”.
Twitter confirmed the investment but refused to comment on the implications of having a member of the Saudi ruling family among its shareholders.
The Prince is considered a liberal by the standards of the Kingdom which implements a highly conservative form of Shariah Law. His wife, Princess Ameera does not wear a veil which is unheard of in a country which is now trying to legally enforce women to cover their complete bodies when in public.
The Twitter investment marks the latest in a series of high-profile gambles in tech companies taken by Prince Alwaleed, who first won international attention with an investment in then-struggling Citigroup in the early 1990s. Prince Alwaleed has also purchased significant shares in Netscape, Time Warner and Apple.