A prince of Saudi Arabia has taken a $300 million stake in micro blogging site Twitter, adding another investment in the global media industry.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is a nephew of the king of Saudi Arabia and was estimated to have a fortune of $20 billion by Forbes magazine, already owns a 7 percent share in News Corp. and is also currently planning on starting a cable news channel.
Reports say that Alwaleed secured a 3.75 percent stake in the social network site after “months of negotiations.” His investment’s timing has raised a flag since Twitter has been used as a tool for Arab activists in the Middle East to voice out their opposition to the regime and to organize protests.
The microblogging site, which is just five years old, has more than 100 million users. It has quickly evolved into a communications tool, enabling people and companies to share information in real time.
Unlike her husband, Alwaleed’s wife, Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, is an avid user of Twitter, having more than 84,000 followers. She sent out a Tweet on Monday, saying that her husband’s investment in the social network “a great planned move.”
The Saudi Prince’s investment may give Twitter time to pursue growth before it sells shares in a public offering. Twitter is now revamping the website to make it simpler and faster for users to navigate.
“They are looking to give themselves some more running space,” said Amsterdam-based Gartner analyst Jeff Mann. “Their strategy has always been first get big. They’re still holding reasonably close to that. Having a big audience is more important than a short-term revenue stream.”