Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company, has invested $300million in Twitter to gain ‘strategic stake’ in microblogging website
Twitter is to get a $300 million cash injection from billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment company, it was announced Monday.
After months of negotiations, the Saudi king’s nephew will plough his fortune into the microblogging site in return for a “strategic stake” in the company.
The deal will enable the website to attract more users and paying advertisers.
Alwaleed was ranked as Forbes’ 26th richest person in the world and he has invested in media and technology companies in the past through his investment company, Kingdom Holding Co.
“We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend," Ahmed Halawani, Kingdom Holding Co.'s executive director of private equity and international investments, said in a statement.
It was unclear Monday how much control the prince will have over Twitter as part of the new deal and a company spokesman confirmed the investment but declined to comment further, according to the Associated Press.
Alwaleed said his investment was a sign of his interest “in promising high-growth businesses with a global impact’.
He is also about to launch a new Arabic news channel, named Alarab, to compete with the well-established Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya stations in the region.
Alwaleed is also the main shareholder in Kingdom Holding Co. which has stakes in Apple Inc., News Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
The investment company has also ploughed money into the Saudi company which produces the Arabic Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Twitter was set up five years ago and lets users send short 140 character messages and story links to other followers.
The San Francisco-based company played a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings and recent Occupy Wall Street protests, and more than 100 million people use the site each day, posting an average of 250 million tweets.
A recent redesign has been aimed at making the site easier to navigate and the company currently limits its shareholders to a small group of private investors so it does not have to reveal its financial records.
Research firm eMarketer estimates Twitter will generate close to $140 million in ad revenue this year and $260 million in 2012, the Associated Press reported.