Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has bought a £193m ($300m) stake in microblogging site Twitter.
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Alwaleed, who owns 7% of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, made the investment jointly with his Kingdom Holding Company.
In a statement the Saudi king’s nephew said the move was “the result of several months of negotiations”.
He added: “Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact.”
Alwaleed is the main shareholder in Kingdom Holdings, an investment company which owns chunks in several Western giants including Citigroup, Apple and Time Warner.
Forbes magazine estimates the Saudi royal’s personal net worth to be about £13bn ($20bn) while Kingdom Holdings has assets valued at £16bn ($25bn).
Alwaleed recently announced the launch of a new 24-hour Arabic business news channel. This adds to an already sizeable media portfolio in the Middle East.
Analysts said Alwaleed’s decision to buy into Twitter probably went beyond his interest in media and technology.
Said Hirsh, a Middle East Economist at London-based Capital Economics, said Arab investors such as Alwaleed have long targeted trophy assets and well established brands.
“It is… an investment into a well recognised brand with future growth potential,” she said.
Twitter spokesman Matt Graves confirmed the investment but was unable to provide further details.
The popular social networking service said in September that it was in no hurry to undertake a hotly-anticipated initial public offering.
It raised £258m ($400m) in venture capital financing this summer.
By limiting its shareholders to a small group of private investors, Twitter does not have to disclose how much revenue it brings in.
Twitter has more than 100 million active users who log onto the site at least once a month.
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