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[liberationtech] Saudi Prince invests $300mn in Twitter
Jillian C. York
jilliancyork at gmail.com
Mon Dec 19 11:21:12 PST 2011
Honestly? I trust that this will have less than zero effect on Twitter's
policy. Twitter has stood up to a whole lot of other powerful players,
including the US and UK governments. Saudi's powerful, but we're talking
about a share of under 5%. Try as they might, Kingdom Holding will likely
have minimal effect.
Is it icky? For sure, but so are a lot of deals.
On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 3:26 AM, Daniel Isaiah Ong
<danielo at cs.stanford.edu>wrote:
> Saudi Prince Invests $300 Million in TwitterBY MARK SCOTT<http://dealbook.nytimes.com/author/mark-scott/>
> LONDON — The Saudi Prince Walid bin Talal and his investment company,
> Kingdom Holding, said Monday they had bought a “strategic stake” in the
> social media site Twitter for $300 million.
> The investment represents roughly 3 percent stake of the company, based in
> San Francisco, which was valued at $8 billion in August.
> In a statement, Prince Walid, who owns 95 percent of Kingdom Holding, said
> the purchase was part of a strategy “to invest in promising, high-growth
> businesses with a global impact.”
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> Despite ongoing volatility in the financial markets, investors have shown
> continued interest in Internet companies. Last week, the social network
> gaming company Zynga raised $1 billion in an initial public offering, while
> Groupon, the daily deals site, raised $700 million from the markets in
> early November.
> Kingdom Holding stock was up about 6 percent in midday trading in Riyadh.
> Prince Walid, who also own stakes in U.S. blue chip companies such as
> Citigroup, General Motors and Apple, is the nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King
> Abdullah. He also is one the of the Arab world’s richest men, with assets
> worth an estimated $21 billion, according to Arabian Business magazine.
> The investment in Twitter comes after the company’s co-founder Biz Stone
> announced in June that he would be stepping back from the fast-growing
> social media. Twitter’s other co-founder, Evan Williams, was replaced by
> the current chief executive Dick Costolo last year.
> Despite the management shake-up, Twitter has continued to gain traction,
> particularly in the Arab world, where it was credited with playing a role
> in the recent popular uprisings across North Africa and the Gulf.
> Arabic is now the fastest growing language used on Twitter, according to
> the data intelligence company Semiocast.
> The volume of Arabic messages, for example, has multiplied by 2,146
> percent in the 12 months ending in October, according to figures from
> Semiocast. That makes Arabic the eighth most used language on the site.
> “We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry
> landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this
> positive trend,” Ahmed Reda Halawani, Kingdom Holding’s executive director
> of private equity and international investments, said in a statement.
> The website currently has over 100 million active users, and raised
> approximately $400 million of new capital last summer. That investment was
> led by DST Global, the investment firm headed by the Russian billionaire
> Yuri Milner.
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