Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Prince Alwaleed's Twitter Investment Isn't For Politics Or FootballScores - Forbes

Marc Faber is a famous contrarian investor and the publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report newsletter.
Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, nephew of the Saud...Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud announced today that his Kingdom Holding Company is investing $300 million in Twitter, the microblogging social media site that delivers everything from breaking news to lame trending topics. Twitter played a notable about role during the Arab Spring uprisings – which included threatened violence in Saudi Arabia – leading some to call the Saudi Prince’s investment ironic. Though Prince Alwaleed does not use the service himself, his wife, Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel has a popular account. She took the opportunity to retweet a follower today, rejecting the claim that Alwaleed’s investment is political [rough tranlastion]: “Some consider Alwaleed’s investment in Twitter as political. This is not true. It is an investment and exchange in new media that is not restricted to Football Scores on Twitter.”
Alwaleed, the 26th richest man in the world, echoed the fact that the investment is a business decision, not a political one, in a statement, calling Twitter one of the world’s “promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact.”
Eng. Ahmed Halawani, the Executive Director of Private Equity and International Investments at Kingdom Holding Company, added, “We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend.”
In fact, Alwaleed has been vocal about the need for change, particularly with regards to communication and technology. In an editorial published in the New York Times earlier this year, the prince called for meaningful interaction using technology – something Twitter hopes to provide. “For any reform to be effective,” wrote Prince Alwaleed in February of this year, “it has to be the result of meaningful interaction and dialogue among the different components of a society, most particularly between the rulers and the ruled. It also has to encompass the younger generation, which in this technologically advanced age has become increasingly intertwined with its counterparts in other parts of the world.”
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal sat down with Steve Forbes in January of 2010 to discuss his investments and his outlook for media companies in particular. He has been a large stakeholder in News Corp. and other media companies like Disney and Time Warner, as well as in Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which publishes a number of magazines and news sources.
“The Web has revolutionized everything. It changes the whole equation,” Prince Alwaleed told Forbes. “We are seeing right now – in News Corp. and some other companies – they would like to have the Web pay for content. Still, they have not found the equilibrium point on what to do with it. Is it just that you have to pay? How much? And to whom to pay? This thing is an ongoing dialogue right now, but it’s very interesting what’s going on.”
Prince Alwaleed has also recently announced plans to launch his own news network, called Alarab. One would guess some integration with Twitter could be in the cards.

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