Is this Saudi Prince the next big investor in Snapchat?

CEO Evan Spiegel and Saudi Prince Alwaleed meet to discuss "potential business cooperation"

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
March 9, 2015
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Last month reports began to surface that Snapchat was looking to raise as much as $500 million at a $19 billion valuation. This is a big deal: it would wind up making it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world, behind only Uber, which is valued at $40 billion, and Xiaomi, which is valued at $45 billion.

So I think its safe to assume that Snapchat is looking for some pretty high profile investors in this deal, and it may have just found the first one: a Saudi Prince.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel had a meeting with Prince Alwaleed bin Tala in Saudi Arabia. Prince Alwaleed, besides being a businessman who is the chief executive officer and majority owner of the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), a Forbes Global 2000 company, is also as a member of the Saudi royal family. Alwaleed's uncle was Saudi King Abdullah, who died earlier this year.

How do we know about this meeting? Because the Prince wrote a whole press release describing it.

In attendance were Spiegel and Imran Khan, Snapchat's Chief Strategy Officer, as well as a  delegation from KHC that included Executive Director for International and Private Equity Dr. Adel Alsayed; KHC’s CFO Mohammed Fahmy; and Website and Social Media Manager Naief Alzuhair.

"During the meeting, Mr. Spiegel thanked the Prince for giving him the opportunity to meet with him. During their meeting HRH and Mr. Spiegel discussed political, business and economic issues," it says. "The two also discussed Prince Alwaleed’s investments in the US in light of being the largest individual foreign investor there."

In addition, Prince Alwaleed hosted a luncheon in honor of Spiegel at Kingdom Resort.

The most interesting thing about the meeting: one of the things said to be "on the agenda" were "discussions" about "future potential business cooperation between KHC and Snap Chat in the technology field." Of course, no other details about this were disclosed, but all signs are pointing to a potential investment from the company in Snapchat.

This wouldn't be very shocking, as this is far from the first time that KHC invested in a technology company. It has previously put money into Twitter and Chinese e-commerce company KHC also had investments in Citigroup and is the the second largest shareholder in 21st Fox Century after the Murdoch family.

A Snapchat spokesperson declined to comment further on the meeting. VatorNews also reached out to KHC for comment on a potential investment, but the company was unavailable at this time. We will update this story if we learn more.

This latest funding round is coming only months after Snapchat revealed that it had ended 2014 with an additional $485 million in funding from undisclosed investors.

The company has raised total funding of $648 million from investors that have included Tencent, SV Angel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark, General Catalyst Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and Coatue Management.

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