Prince Alwaleed says Trump to improve US-Saudi ties
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said that he expects President-elect Donald Trump to improve U.S.-Saudi ties and that his actions will be different from his rhetoric during the campaign.
Prince Alwaleed, who has known Trump for 25 years, told Bloomberg TV that he would meet the new president-elect soon through mutual friends.
He also mentioned that it’s too early to comment on how Trump’s win would impact his investments in the U.S.
“We are not jumpy investors, we are long-term,” he said. “We go with a rifle gun approach, never a shotgun approach. It’s only been one week.”
On the topic of his Twitter stake, the Prince said Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey should be given more time to turn around the company.
“We still can get a lot more out of the existing users rather than just going and looking for new users, which should also be pursued,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Riyadh.
The prince and his investment vehicle, Saudi-listed Kingdom Holding Company, in which he owns a 95 percent stake, hold about 5 percent of Twitter. The investment is valued at about $1 billion, he said.
“Everything’s on the table,” Alwaleed added. “If our interest requires Kingdom Holding to divest from any company, sure we’ll do it. There’s nothing called forever.”
Twitter in September hired banks to explore a sale of the company, but all three potential bidders backed away. The company said it would cut 9 percent of staff and concentrate on the sales and marketing areas.
“I still believe that” the micro-blogging site has a bright future, Alwaleed said. “We are long-term investors.”
Meanwhile, the prince voiced his support for Saudi Arabia’s economic transition plan Vision 2030, while adding that he supports the 5 percent sale of Saudi Aramco, or even 10 percent because it will help enhance transparency inside the state-owned oil company.
As a last resort to support the economy, the kingdom may have to discontinue the riyal’s fixed valuation against the dollar, he added.
He also commented on the progress of Kingdom Tower building in Jeddah, saying that the work slowed down because of the troubles facing Saudi Binladen Group, but all finances have been finalized over six months ago.
Alwaleed, a prominent businessman that holds no official post in Saudi Arabia, has investments in several big name companies, including Twitter, Time Warner, Citi Group, Apple, and eBay.