Saudi Prince Alwaleed hails Elon Musk as an 'excellent leader' for Twitter

Billionaire businessman had previously opposed Tesla founder's buyout of social media platform

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Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has said that Elon Musk will be “an excellent leader” for Twitter after he agreed to retain his $1.9 billion stake in the microblogging platform rather than exit it.

The businessman, who owns a stake in Twitter through his Kingdom Holding Company, was a vociferous opponent of Mr Musk buying the platform. In a tweet last month, he said the Tesla founder's offer did not come even close to the intrinsic value of the organisation.

But on Thursday, the Saudi businessman connected with his “new friend” Mr Musk on Twitter.

“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,” he tweeted.

Prince Alwaleed's tweet came hours after Mr Musk revealed that he has secured more than $7.1bn in new equity funding to help finance his $44bn acquisition of Twitter.

His investors include Sequoia Capital, Binance, Litani Ventures, Qatar Holdings, Vy Capital, Key Wealth advisers, Honeycomb Asset Management and Brookfield. He also secured a $1bn backing from Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

So far, 18 investors have made commitments ranging between $850,000 and $1bn, a US Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filing showed.

Kingdom Holding originally invested $300 million in Twitter for about 3 per cent in December 2011.

When the microblogging site went public in November 2013, the value of the company’s shares in Twitter soared to $600m.

In October 2015, Prince Alwaleed and his company raised their ownership in Twitter to about 5.2 per cent, bringing the market value of their ownership to more than 3.75bn riyals ($1bn).

Mr Musk's move to acquire Twitter has received mixed reactions from the market with some cheering it and others opposing it.

Following the announcement of his acquisition of Twitter for $44bn, Mr Musk tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

The Tesla founder's offer to buy Twitter came after frequent complaints about content censorship and a lack of free speech on the site.

In response to a poll he conducted on the platform, 70.4 per cent of users said Twitter does not stick to free speech principles, while 29.6 per cent supported the platform.

Updated: May 11, 2022, 5:00 AM