Social media platforms such as Twitter are extremely popular in Saudi Arabia, a highly conservative Muslim kingdom where official media are tightly controlled. Prince Alwaleed’s personal stake amounts to 4.45% of the company. His stake consists of 30 million shares directly owned and an additional 5 million shares owned through his Kingdom Holding Co.
The ostentatious Saudi royal and Kingdom Holdings increased their ownership in the past six weeks to a total of 34,948,975 shares, representing more than 5% of Twitter’s common stock.
The announcement comes a couple of months after Alwaleed was critical of Twitter’s management and spoke against Dorsey succeeding Dick Costolo when he stepped down as CEO.
Mr Dorsey will run Twitter on a full-time basis while simultaneously holding the chief executive position at Square. He told the paper that Mr Dorsey should concentrate on running Square, the mobile credit card transaction business he also founded, which has filed for an initial public offering later this year.
That investment could be seen as a show of confidence from the prince, who previously said he did not think Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey should be named CEO. Twitter, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2013, has market capitalization of $18.7 billion (AUD 26 billion).
The news is likely to lift the share price today in continuation of the pre-market trading.