Saudi Arabian billionaire, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal's investment firm Kingdom Holding paid $50 million to increase its stake in the microblogging site to 0.72%. Prince Al Waleed bin Talal owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, and he personally owns 30,100,078 shares of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), which translate to 4.45% of the New York Stock Exchange-listed company.
Together, it is now up to more than five percent, and collectively the second-largest stakeholder. They had invested $300 million for a 3 percent stake in 2011 when the venture was still private, and today their holding in the company is valued at over $1 billion.
Winds changing in favor of new CEO
This is seen by industry experts as support for newly-appointed CEO Jack Dorsey who took charge only the day before, which saw the share price jump 7% to $28.17. Jack Dorsey, one of the co-founders of Twitter, was interim CEO ever since former head Dick Costolo's departure, and the company even filed with Securities and Exchange Commission in September that it had no plans to provide any form of direct compensation to Dorsey for running Twitter.
Al Waleed bin Talal had been critical of Dorsey at one time during his tenure as interim CEO, saying that the latter should concentrate on running Square, a mobile payments company he established in 2009. However, the prince later changed his opinion and stated that he would fully back Dorsey if he took over Twitter and this latest investment is said to be proof of that.
Is Jack Dorsey as CEO good or bad for Twitter?
Dorsey continues to head Square, and several industry leaders and analysts have opined that he should step down as Square CEO and concentrate on running one company at a time. Among them is Elon Musk, who runs both electric automobile manufacturer Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Space X, a space transportation firm.
Dorsey faces the same challenges as Costolo - make Twitter as appealing as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), increase its user base and bring in more advertising revenue. Following his appointment as permanent CEO and his subsequent relinquishing of the role of Chairman at the company, he announced that Twitter already has the option to send messages of over 140 characters in length while addressed to a specific person, and a 'Buy Now' button has made it simpler for Twitteratti to purchase products.
The Saudi prince, labelled by TIME as the 'Warren Buffet of Arabia', is officially the 34th-richest man in the world according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of US$28 billion and has pledged his entire fortune to charity.