Twitter gets $300M from Saudi Prince Alwaleed

As Arabic is fastest-growing language on Twitter, Arabian Warren Buffet lands an investment

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
December 19, 2011
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Clearly, the Arab world sees the value in Twitter.

Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, announced Monday an investment of $300 million into Twitter, expanding the billionaire's  growing media footprint. 

Prince Alwaleed, through his company Kingdom Holdings, has a large presence in media properties, particularly in the Arab world. Kingdom Holdings owns a 29.9% stake in Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), which owns publications, such as Asharq Al Awsat, Al Eqtisadiah, Arab News and Hia Magazine. More notably, King Holdings also owns 7% of News Corp. 

Alwaleed is also one of the richest men in the world with an estimated $19.6 billion fortune, ranking him No. 26 in Forbes' 2011 list of world's richest people. Time magazine also referred to him as the Arabian Warren Buffet. 

"Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact," said Prince Alwaleed, in a statement.  

Indeed, Twitter has seen fast growth in Arab countries. Arabic is the fastest-growing language on Twitter. Some two million Arabic public posts were made on Twitter in October, up from 30,000 in July 2010.  The Arabic languange is now the 8th most used language on Twitter.  

The $300 million round follows a round led by DST this past August. That round valued Twitter at a reported $8 billion, more than double the $3.7 billion valuation Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers gave Twitter for its last financing in December.  DST, or Digital Sky Technologies for long, holds stakes in several other prominent Web companies, including Facebook, Groupon, Spotify and Zynga. As a contributor to Y Combinator startups, though, it’s clear that DST is not just about the obvious heavy-hitters. hat valued the company at $8 billion.  

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