U-turn: Saudi Prince Alwaleed now thinks Musk will be 'excellent leader' for Twitter
Elon Musk is expected to be “an excellent leader” for social media giant Twitter, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Thursday, as the billionaire royal confirmed plans to hold on to his stake in the company.
Musk’s planned takeover of the microblogging platform had earlier been criticised by the Saudi prince who said the Tesla founder’s $44 billion offer to purchase Twitter does not come close to its “intrinsic value”.
“Being one of the largest & long-term shareholders of Twitter, @Kingdom_KHC & I reject this offer,” he said at the time, referring to his Kingdom Holding Company.
However, the prince, who owns a $1.9 billion stake in Twitter himself, appeared to change his tune this week, revealing plans to stick with the organisation as it prepares to transition to Musk’s leadership.
“I believe you will be an excellent leader for Twitter to propel and maximise its great potential. Kingdom Holding and I look forward to roll our $1.9bn in the 'new' Twitter and join you on this exciting journey,” Prince Alwaleed tweeted.
In 2011, Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding originally invested $300 million into the social media giant, acquiring some 3 percent of the company at the time. This was later increased to 5.2 percent in 2015, just two years after Twitter went public.
Musk - the world's richest man - struck a deal at the end of last month to buy Twitter for $44 billion. He has sold $8.5 billion of shares in his automotive company Tesla to raise cash for the deal.
Just hours prior to Prince Alwaleed’s new-found support of the takeover, official US documents outlined almost 20 companies that have pledged a total of $7.1 billion for the buyout.
According to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Qatar Holding LLC, the main investment subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is contributing $375 million to the $7.1 billion in new equity funding.
As Qatar tries to diversify its investments, the QIA - one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds - is shifting away from investments in trophy assets like property and investing more in technology companies, Bloomberg reported in March.
Rights groups have decried the takeover since it was announced last month, expressing fears that the platform would relax enforcement policies against harmful content.