Prince Alwaleed Invested More Than $500 Million In Russia Just Days Before The Invasion

According to an article on Bloomberg just days before the invasion, Prince Alwaleed invested more than $500 million in Russian companies like Lukoil PJSC, Rosneft PJSC, and Gazprom PSJC in February.

Prince Alwaleed Invested More Than $500 Million In Russia Just Days Before The Invasion 1

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was busy pouring money into what was soon to be a financial black hole months before he became embroiled in the Tesla takeover dispute, first claiming Musk’s $54.20 takeover offer was too low, then conceding that it’s just right, only for the world to ask if he even owns TWTR shares after the Saudi crackdown on his wealth. He invested more than $500 million in Russian companies in the days leading up to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prince Alwaleed Invested More Than $500 Million In Russia Just Days Before The Invasion 2

According to a stock exchange filing, Kingdom Holding, the investment company owned by Prince Alwaleed, purchased depositary receipts from Lukoil PJSC, Rosneft PJSC, and Gazprom PSJC in February, according to Bloomberg.

No specific dates were provided for the investments, but the window could not have been overly large: Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, trading in Moscow was suspended and western sanctions were put in place, which caused a sharp decline in the value of all those depositary receipts. The days after the invasion saw the complete destruction of the majority of Russian stocks traded offshore.

The largest holding among those revealed thus far this year was purchased in Gazprom’s American depositary receipts by Kingdom Holding in February for 1.37 billion riyals ($365 million). Additionally, between February and March, it invested 410 million riyals in Lukoil’s ADRs and 196 million riyals in Rosneft’s global depositary receipts.

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Alwaleed, whose grandfather founded modern Saudi Arabia, was imprisoned for 83 days as a “five-star” prisoner in the Riyadh Ritz in November 2017 as a result of a decree from the country’s de facto ruler (and his cousin), Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He was eventually freed after coming to an undisclosed “confirmed understanding” with the government, which cost him a sizable portion of his wealth. Alwaleed is is one of the country’s richest men and most high profile international investors.  More recently, the MBS-controlled sovereign wealth fund of the kingdom, which in May purchased a 16.9% interest in Kingdom Holding, has overshadowed him.

According to the report, Kingdom Holding has invested $3.4 billion in global equities and depositary receipts since 2020. This is an unusual example of the corporation providing information. The greatest investment was made in Spain’s Telefonica SA between April and August 2020, valued at 2.5 billion riyals.

It also revealed investments in Uber, TotalEnergies, Alibaba Group Holding, and BHP Group, all of which were acquired between 2020 and 2021. The most recent transaction it announced was a June investment of 178 million riyals in Hercules Capital. Since the beginning of July, shares of the venture capital firm have increased by 17%.

According to Bloomberg, Prince Alwaleed, 67, rose to prominence as one of the most well-known Saudi investors after purchasing shares in companies including Citigroup and Apple. He has backed Prince Mohammed’s modernisation initiatives, such as allowing women to drive. A portion of his ownership in the Four Seasons hotel chain was sold to Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC for $2.2 billion. More recently, he announced the sale of a share in his Rotana Music label to Warner Music Group.

Alwaleed has a reputation for making long-term investments and admires renowned investor Warren Buffett. He once referred to himself as the Arabian version of the Oracle of Omaha.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Prince Alwaleed’s continuing prominence in S.A. suggests that, given time, the Kingdom could morph into a constitutional monarchy. Meanwhile, MBH’s grant of driving rights to women is IMHO a social reform only equaled in the Muslim world by democracy in Iraq.

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