Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Won’t Sell Twitter Shares After IPO

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Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is not interested in selling his shares of Twitter Inc. when the microblogging site goes public, reports Mirna Sleiman of Reuters. Twitter Inc. filed for an initial public offering last week. Saudi Arabia’s billionaire prince expects the firm to go public early next year.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Won't Sell Twitter Shares After IPO

Twitter CEO knowledgeable and trustworthy

Prince Alwaleed invested $300 million in Twitter Inc. in 2011 through his investment firm Kingdom Holding. He is the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah. Prince Alwaleed is one of the most closely watched figures on Wall Street for his several successful investments, including News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) (NASDAQ:NWS) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C). In a telephone interview with Reuters, Prince Alwaleed said that the microblogging site is a strategic investment for him. He said he won’t sell even a single share of Twitter during the IPO. However, Prince Alwaleed didn’t specify if he is interested in purchasing more new shares at the public offering.

Talking about Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, he said that Mr. Costolo is a very trustworthy and knowledgeable person. Twitter has more than 300 million users worldwide. The company is expected to be valued at around $10.6 billion at the IPO. However, Prince Alwaleed believes that the microblogging service is actually worth much higher.

Price Alwaleed cautions Twitter management

Markets are skeptical of Internet IPOs. Over the past few years, several Internet companies have gone public in high-profile offerings, including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN). But their share prices tanked within six months of going public. Facebook’s botched IPO has chilled the markets. Prince Alwaleed said he has told Twitter management to be very careful, and avoid the mistakes of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). He has told Dick Costolo, “Don’t be greedy and don’t brag too much.” Mark Zuckerberg has also come forward to advise Twitter on IPOs.

Twitter has played a crucial role in Arab Spring, where mass protesters ousted rulers in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Saudi Arabia has since started a number of welfare schemes to avoid public unrest. Despite all those issues, Prince Alwaleed is against censoring social media. He said social networking sites are an open forum for the public.

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