Saudi Prince, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has a net estimated worth in the billions of dollars decided to expand upon his investment portfolio with a large purchase if technology stock. Spending $300 million, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal added the microblogging stock of Twitter to his collection.
Twitter, a popular website that allows users to do mini blog posts to update their followers, ranging from one to hundreds, to thousands and beyond, on their every day life, thoughts and ambitions have become a large part of everyday life for millions around the globe. Used by celebrities to stay in touch with their fans, politicians to reach their electorate and even protesters in this year’s Arab Spring Uprisings.
With Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s $300 million investment, he will be in control of roughly 3% of the company. Jointly invested with the Kingdom Holding Company, which the Prince has some power and interest in himself, Twitter joins his portfolio with other high name technology stocks such as Apple and News Corp.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal took a 5% stake in Apple in 1997, upon Steve Job’s return to the company. At the time the shares were worth $25 million, now having surged to being worth more than $17 billion.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is a nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, but has a reputation for being more “liberal” by the nation’s standards. He has been an outspoken proponent of free speech in the nation, even going as far as to be in the process of launching his own news media channel that has been claimed to be focused on free speech.
Twitter has even been used inside of Saudi Arabia as a form of protest against some government policies, in a nation dominated by strict Arab traditions and conservatism. A law passed in February of 2011 gave the government the ability to block or fine websites that were deemed harmful to the state, violated Sharia Law, or found to be offensive. When contacted for comments, Twitter did not respond on the ramifications of being partially owned by a Saudi Prince.
Earlier this year DST, a Russian internet investment firm, invested $400 million in Twitter to gain control of 5% of the company. Again, ironically being a nation that has heavily used Twitter in protest against their government, this time of the election fraud of the December elections.
Always willing to take a chance, and often paying off, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal continues to invest in large companies and history has shown he has made it work.