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Saudi prince buys 3 per cent of Twitter

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Twitter valued at $8bn

The Arab world’s richest man has bought a $300m (£193.5m) stake in social media service Twitter via his investment organisation.

Kingdom Holding Company, of which Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns 95 per cent, now owns 3 per cent of Twitter – which was valued at $8bn (£5.2bn) during 2011.

In a statement, Kingdom Holding Company’s executive director of private equity and international investments, Ahmed Halawani, said: “Social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetise this positive trend.”

Twitter’s advertising revenues expected to grow

Prince Alwaleed’s wealth reportedly exceeds $21bn (£13.5bn) and he has been named by magazine Arabian Business as the culture’s most affluent man. In March 2011, Forbes listed him as the 26th richest person on the planet, while his other investments include shares in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Apple, Citigroup, Time Warner and Saudi Research And Marketing Group.

Kingdom Holding Company’s move follows the purchase of a $400m Twitter stake by internet investor DST in August 2011, which also has shares in Facebook, Groupon and Zynga.

One month later, eMarketer.com estimated that Twitter’s worldwide advertising revenues were set to grow by 210 per cent between 2010 and 2011, from $45m (£29m) to $139.5m (£90m), swelling to $400m (£258m) by 2013.

Daniel Nolan, managing director of theEword, said: “A professional investor such as Prince Alwaleed doesn’t take his business decisions lightly and clearly expects a very bright future for Twitter’s revenues.

“Some quarters have always been sceptical about social media’s ability to make money through advertising – which has long been a point of discussion about the internet in general – so it’ll be interesting to see how Twitter’s fortunes progress.”

Written by Liane Baddeley

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