Wealthy Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has invested $300 million into the popular micro-blogging site, Twitter.
Prince Alwaleed purchased a stake in Twitter with added funds brought in from his personal investment company. Alwaleed, the nephew of Saudi Arabia's king, owns the Kingdom Holding Co. investment firm. He is estimated by Forbes magazine to have a fortune of $19.6 billion
Kingdom Holding Co. revealed in a press release statement that the agreement to acquire Twitter was a "strategic strike." They also noted that this finalized purchase followed "several months of negotiations."
Alwaleed, who already owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp, is said to be purchasing a stake in Twitter due to the website's growing presence in the world of communications. Twitter gained even more global attention when protesters used it during the Arab Spring revolts earlier this year.
Alwaleed has been an outspoken critic on the issues of broader political participation, fair elections and effective job creation across the Arab world.
Saudis are now using satellite television, online news providers and social networking as a means to stay abreast of global events. Alwaleed's stake purchase in Twitter may be influenced by this new trend.
Bernhard Warner, co-founder of analysis and advisory firm Social Media Influence, spoke to Reuters about Alwaleed's decision to make this purchase. "The Arab world, of course, knows full well the value of Twitter," he said. "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 continued.
Hesham Tuffaha, head of asset management at Bakheet Investment Group in Riyadh, also spoke to Reuters about technology's revenue potential. "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," Tuffaha stated.
It has been reported that Alwaleed is said to be planning on starting a cable news channel of his own as well.
Currently, Twitter is one of the most popular and widely used social media websites on the Internet. It joins other well-known social media websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Zynga.
News of this recent stake purchase of Twitter follows the recent redesign of the social media website. The user login and page layout both sport a brand new layout.