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Home / Companies / News /  Saudi sovereign-wealth fund buys stake in Royal’s investment firm

Saudi sovereign-wealth fund buys stake in Royal’s investment firm

Saudi Arabian Prince Al waleed bin Talal.

  • Public Investment Fund to pay Prince al-Waleed bin Talal $1.51 billion for 16.9% of Kingdom Holding

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Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund bought a stake Sunday in a firm owned by billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, further intertwining the government with a high-profile investor who was once detained by the state over corruption allegations.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund bought a stake Sunday in a firm owned by billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, further intertwining the government with a high-profile investor who was once detained by the state over corruption allegations.

The Public Investment Fund agreed to pay Prince al-Waleed $1.51 billion for 16.9% of Kingdom Holding Co., a figure based on the closing price on the last trading day before the transaction was announced, according to a filing with the Saudi stock exchange.

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The Public Investment Fund agreed to pay Prince al-Waleed $1.51 billion for 16.9% of Kingdom Holding Co., a figure based on the closing price on the last trading day before the transaction was announced, according to a filing with the Saudi stock exchange.

Prince al-Waleed will retain a majority 78.13% stake in Kingdom Holding, with 5% of the company listed on the exchange, the filing said. An executive at PIF, which is tasked with transforming the Saudi economy from oil dependence, will join the investment firm’s board, the company said in a separate filing. Kingdom’s shares rose 10% in trading Sunday.

Prince al-Waleed, 67, owns a stake in Twitter Inc. and has recently backed Elon Musk’s bid to take over the social-media company.

The prince was the highest-profile detainee in a 2017 roundup of businessmen and royals in Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. He was asked to hand over $6 billion in assets to secure his freedom, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time, though details of his settlement were never made public.

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It isn’t clear whether this transaction was related to that settlement. Spokespeople for Prince al-Waleed and the Saudi government didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for PIF declined to comment beyond the stock-exchange filing.

The purchase by PIF, whose chairman is de facto Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deepens the connection between the Saudi state and Prince al-Waleed at a moment when the investor has again become publicly vocal after a quiet few years following his arrest.

Prince al-Waleed in a tweet initially rejected Mr. Musk’s offer last month to buy Twitter, a company in which the royal and his company have held stakes for years.

But the Saudi prince, who is a nephew of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and a cousin of Prince Mohammed, later tweeted that he had connected with his “new friend" Mr. Musk, who he said would be “an excellent leader" for Twitter and maximize its value.

Prince al-Waleed agreed to retain a stake in Twitter valued at $1.9 billion as part of Mr. Musk’s takeover, which the entrepreneur has since put on hold.

Saudi Arabia has a checkered relationship with Twitter. In 2019, U.S. federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees and a Saudi national with spying on some users of the social-media platform who were critical of Riyadh and providing that information to the kingdom’s officials.

Saudi Arabia, in the past, has been accused of aggressively going after the regime’s detractors and using Twitter to push positive messages about the kingdom.

The Central Intelligence Agency in 2018 concluded that Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist critical of Saudi Arabia, was killed under order of Prince Mohammed. Saudi Arabia denied the claim.

Prince al-Waleed became prominent on Wall Street in the 1990s when he bought a stake in a predecessor of Citigroup Inc., a bank that has become more active in Saudi Arabia in recent years. With the backing of Prince al-Waleed, Citi has become one of the main financial institutions supporting Prince Mohammed’s economic transformation.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text