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Saudi prince invests $300 million in Twitter

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has scooped up a substantial stake in Twitter Inc.

The multibillionaire has made a $300-million investment in the popular social media site that activists used during the “Arab Spring” uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. That’s roughly a 3% stake in the San Francisco company.

Twitter confirmed the investment, which was announced in a news release from Kingdom Holding Co. that touted Alwaleed’s desire to invest in “promising, high-growth businesses with global impact.”

A nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, Alwaleed owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, which has stakes in Apple Inc., Citigroup Inc. and General Motors Co. He is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of nearly $20 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

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Fortune reported that he bought his stake in Twitter from insiders, not the company. Twitter spokesman Matt Graves declined to provide any further details. The prince’s investment in Twitter has been rumored since October.

The company’s worth has been pegged at $8.4 billion. Twitter says it has 100 million active users who post 250 million tweets per day.

Twitter’s advertising business is expected to generate about $140 million in revenue this year, up from $45 million last year, and may generate $260 million in 2012, according to the research firm EMarketer. Twitter has more than 700 employees.

“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 Reda Halawani, Kingdom Holding’s executive director of private equity and international investments, said in a statement.

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jessica.guynn@latimes.com


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