Feeds

Saudi prince buys $300m sliver of Twitter

Tiny-revenue microblogger really worth $10bn?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A Saudi prince whose investment company claims to have a fondness for free speech has plopped $300m into the coffers of Twitter, the 140-characters-at-a-time social networking service widely touted as an enabler of this year's Arab Spring.

"Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact," said billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the nephew of Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, in a statement announcing the deal on Monday.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

As reported by Bloomberg, a joint venture comprised of Alwaleed and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), the Saudi investment house he controls, purchased a "strategic stake" in the 100 million–user microblogging site. Such a stake is defined as being of at least 3 per cent, according to an investment expert speaking with Bloomberg – so if that is, indeed, how much of Twitter Alwaleed has bought, the site would be valued at $10bn.

The Saudi prince is not the only investor dabbling in Twitter recently. In early August, Twitter blogged that it had "an opportunity to expand Twitter's reach with a significant round of funding led by the venture firm DST Global, with the participation of several of our existing investors."

The anonymous Twitter blogger didn't expand on the numbers, but reports at the time suggested that Russian investment company DST had ponied up $400m, with an additional $400m coming from the others.

Ahmed Halawani, KHC's executive director of private equity and international investments gave a straightforward – if optimistic – reason for Monday's Saudi investment. "We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years," he said. "Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend."

Exactly how Twitter will "monetize" itself is not yet clear. As the Financial Times has pointed out, the company is expected to have revenues of only $200m or less this year.

Alwaleed has other media iron in the investment fire. He holds a strong position in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp – 7 per cent of the company's Class B common stock – and he's planning to launch an Arabic-language news channel, Alarab, next year that a KHC statement said "will focus editorially on the important shifts taking place across the Arab world with an emphasis on freedom of speech and freedom of press."

In addition to News Corp and now Twitter, Alwaleed's high-profile investments include Citigroup and Apple. As an example of his investing acumen, he bought his slice of Apple in 1997 at about $9.50 per share. That stock is now selling rather comfortably above that. ®

Bootnote

In a part of the world known for having its share of high-rollers, Alwaleed rolls the highest. Just yesterday, he was named – for the eighth year in a row – the Arab world's richest businessman, with a net worth of $21.3bn.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.