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Saudi Prince doubles stake in e-bid biz to $100m

Priceline.com gets the cash

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Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal plans to throw his money around in Web shares again.

The royal investor - nephew to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd - has agreed to plough another $50 million into e-bidding company priceline.com - bringing his total investment in the company to $100 million.

Under the deal, the prince will get a forward contract to buy two million shares at $25 each from Priceline founder Jay Walker. But he won't get his hands on the shares until between 8 September 2001 and the same date in 2002.

The Saudi businessman will also be able to buy an unspecified stake in Walker Digital Corp - the company that makes the software used by Priceline. According to a company statement, this is to compensate for the illiquidity of the investment.

This is his second investment in Princeline - which takes online bids for items such as flights and hotel rooms. In May he bought $50 million of shares in the company, which has seven million customers.

The prince is a keen investor in cyberstocks, and currently has a $1 billion stake in US ISP AOL. ®

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