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Kingdom Holding ups stake in Citigroup with Alwaleed deal

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Reuters/Katie Paul
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

Kingdom Holding Company has increased its investment in Citigroup after buying a $450 million stake from its Saudi Arabian billionaire chairman, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

The deal has raised Kingdom’s stake to 2.2 percent from 1.63 percent, according to a filing on the Saudi Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The company did not disclose any further details, other than to say the transaction supported Kingdom’s “strategic plans”.

Kingdom’s share price rose slightly immediately after the announcement.

Alwaleed, who holds a 78 percent share in Kingdom, rose to international prominence after investing in Citigroup in the 1990s. He was also an early investor in Apple.

The company is recognised as one of the largest foreign investors in the United States and Alwaleed has made hundreds of millions of dollars by investing in companies including Uber, Lyft and Twitter, now known as X.

However, his investment activity has slowed since 2017 when he was detained along with hundreds of other businessmen and officials as part of an anti-corruption drive in Saudi Arabia, although no formal charges were ever presented. 

Earlier this month, Kingdom reported a 10 percent increase in net profit to SAR391 million ($104 million) for the third quarter of 2023.

The profit was driven by a rise in hotel and other operating revenue, higher finance income, and lower withholding and income tax.

Its net profit slumped 87 percent to SAR856 million in the first nine months of this year on the increase in financial charges, higher hotel and other operating costs and a rise in general, administrative and marketing expenses.

The company signed a SAR2 billion joint venture in October with Red Sea Global to develop and own a Four Seasons resort at the Red Sea giga-project.

Last year, the prince sold a stake of almost 17 percent to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund. 

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