Saudi billionaire buys $300 million stake in Twitter
Some question purchase as Twitter helped spur on revolts in Arab spring
Estimated by Forbes magazine to be the 26th richest person in the world with a $19.6 billion fortune, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has bought a stake in Twitter for $300 million. In addition to gaining another foothold in the global media industry, the purchase is seen as remarkable as Twitter was a key means of communication for protesters in the Arab Spring revolts earlier this year.
Estimated by Forbes magazine to be the 26th richest person in the world with a $19.6 billion fortune, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has bought a stake in Twitter for $300 million.
Twitter allows people to send 140-character messages - better known as "Tweets" -- to groups of followers. Twitter is one of the Internet's most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga.
The Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co investment firm, resulted from "months of negotiations," Kingdom said.
"The Arab world, of course, knows full well the value of Twitter," Bernhard Warner, co-founder of analysis and advisory firm Social Media Influence says. "In the past year, it has been a force in politics, in regime change, so there is not a single person in that region in a position of influence who is not following the increasing power of Twitter.
"(Alwaleed) must see Twitter as something that is going to be a really powerful broadcast channel," Warner said. He also said that Alwaleed had gotten into the Internet boom belatedly, with mixed results, and appeared to be "kind of late" to the game again.
Investors in Saudi Arabia were more bullish, sending shares in Kingdom up 7 percent to 8.40 riyals.
"One of the few sectors to record significant revenue gains in the last three years has been technology, which is why Kingdom would see Twitter as a good addition to its diversified portfolio," Hesham Tuffaha, head of asset management at Bakheet Investment Group says.
Saudi Arabia has turned increasingly to satellite television, online news providers and social networking to stay abreast of world events. The world's No. 1 oil exporter announced a series of stricter regulations for journalists earlier this year.
Alwaleed has spoken in favor of broader political participation, fair elections and effective job creation across the Arab world.
Kingdom owns a near-30 percent stake in Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which runs a range of media titles.
"Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact," Alwaleed said.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Prince Alwaleed, Twitter, Internet, social networking
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