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Saudi Arabia's Prince Walid bin Talal invests $300 million in Twitter

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Saudi Arabia’s Prince Walid bin Talal has invested $300 million in Twitter, the self-proclaimed “free-speech wing of the free-speech party,” the New York Times reports.

With his investment, Talal and his company, Kingdom Holding Company, own three percent of the microblogging service, which boasts 100 million users worldwide.

Walid said in a statement that the move was part of a greater effort “to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact.”

Twitter has become increasingly popular in the Middle East and was fundamental in spurring protests and revolutions last spring in Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain—Saudi Arabia’s next-door neighbor. That correlation didn’t go unnoticed.

“So Prince Al [Walid] has invested $300 million in Twitter,” GigaOm’s Matthew Ingram wrote on Twitter. “What happens if there's an Egypt-style ‘Arab Spring’ movement in Saudi Arabia?”

For its part, Kingdom Holding Company said the investment was an attempt to get a foothold in social media.

“We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend,” a company executive said n a statement.

Prince Walid is the 19th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, which estimates his value at $19.4 billion