Twitter sold to Sowdi 'prince' al Walid bin Talal

There goes twitter:   just a “secondary market transaction”

No coincidence:

About 68% of Saudi investors are corrupt: 

“The study showed that 68 per cent of investors in Saudi Arabia resort to irregular methods to facilitate their businesses, including bribery, nepotism and fraud,” the Arabic language daily said.

What about the rest?

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire and an investor in some of the world’s top companies, has bought a stake in microblogging site Twitter for US$300 million, gaining another foothold in the global media industry.

Will they rename it ‘Salafitter’ or ‘Wahabitter?’

Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s king who was estimated by Forbes magazine this year to have a fortune of over US$19 billion, already owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp and plans to start a cable news channel.

Twitter was a key means of communication for protesters in the Arab Spring revolts this year, violence that threatened Saudi Arabia until the kingdom unveiled a populist US$130 billion social spending package.

The Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co investment firm, resulted from “months of negotiations,” Kingdom said.

The investment was a secondary market transaction, meaning that Alwaleed and Kingdom Holding bought the Twitter shares from existing shareholders, rather than making a direct investment, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The financing took place at around the same time as a US$400 million venture-capital investment in Twitter that closed in September, but was part of a separately arranged transaction, another person familiar with the matter said.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo acknowledged the company was valued at US$8 billion in the secondary markets in October, according to media reports, which would peg the size of Alwaleed’s investment at just under 4 percent.

Kingdom’s executive director Ahmed Halawani told Reuters that “substantial capital gain” was the motivation behind the investment, adding that there were no moves to ask for a board seat or influence strategy at Twitter.

Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character messages, or Tweets, to groups of followers, is one of the Internet’s most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga Inc.

Bernhard Warner, co-founder of analysis and advisory firm Social Media Influence, said: “The Arab world, of course, knows full well the value of Twitter.”

They certainly do. Very soon they’ll know a lot more about us too…..