A tweet fit for a prince

Prince Alwaleed bin TalalSaudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (pictured) has invested some $300m in Twitter, the social media network used frequently as a tool of protest.

While the move might look odd for a member of the royal family in a country which is nervous of the internet, it seemed to make sense to the shareholders of Kingdom Holding, the prince’s investment company. Its shares surged by 5 per cent after the announcement. Saudi Arabia’s benchmark Tadawul All Share index fell 0.25 per cent.

“Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” Alwaleed said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Unlisted Twitter’s value is impossible to gauge accurately but the loss making concern was valued at close to $8bn in August when DST Global invested some $400m for a 5 per cent stake in the company, with US mutual fund concern T Rowe Price and an internet fund managed by JPMorgan leading a group of other investors.

Based on that valuation, the prince’s stake amount to a 3.75 per cent investment.

However, since a flotation by Twitter before 2013 is viewed as unlikely and it may be even longer before Twitter fulfils its earnings potential, the prince will have to wait a while before he can see how his ‘strategic’ investment turns out.

Prince Alwaleed already owns 7 per cent of News Corp and is worth close to $20bn, according to Forbes magazine which puts him at number 24 on the world’s rich list.

Sadly, beyondbrics was unable to find the prince’s Twitter handle to put questions directly to him.

Related reading:
Middle-East protests, FT