Complex Made Simple

Snapchat meets prince charming and is the talk of the town again

His net worth is estimated at $20+ billion. He is a business mogul who has had a stake in almost every business sector today and who has a 33.3% stake in the first-ever, 1 km building under construction in Saudi, the Jeddah Tower, costing $1.4bn and set to open its doors in 2020, according to CNN.

He’s got the Midas Touch, and any new venture he sinks his teeth in, usually struggling or unknown companies, begins to ascend towards monster profitability and global success.

His name is Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, who himself has seen his share of struggles when he became part of a corruption probe last November and got detained for several months with many reports claiming that his ownership of Kingdom Holding was seriously in danger.

But he came out unscathed and began his rise once again, like a phoenix which now plans to take the struggling venture to new heights: Snapchat.

Read: Did Saudi see an opportunity in Tesla, or vice versa?

Why take on such an obvious risk?

A career in calculating risks

TheFamousPeople, a biography website for business profiles, said there was more to Prince Al Waleed’s luxurious lifestyle: “He ventures into high-risk companies.”

The first time Al Waleed stepped into the business room was in 1990 with Citigroup, which he bought when there was a crisis that made the share price drop to $8. However, he turned it into a financial success, and the company’s share price is currently valued at $70 (with an $18 bn market cap).

He had his fingers in Apple’s early beginnings, but sold his shares in 2005. Currently, Apple is worth $1 trillion in total assets.

In 2011, he also bought shares in Twitter worth $300 million; and according to our estimations, it is now worth four times what it was back then. All of these companies were underdogs or poorly performing at the time when he bought into them, but soared after he got involved.

Nevertheless, is Snapchat the company that will end his streak of good luck?

Let’s take a closer look at Snapchat and see what the businessman likes to describe as “one of the most innovative social media platforms in the world.”

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Snapchat lost the battle

Last year, everyone felt sorry for Snapchat, a company that started off as a social chat app then evolved to become valued at $25 billion until it got caught in Facebook’s crosshairs.

When Facebook failed to buy it, the giant blue whale created its own “story” spin-off and released it on all its social media apps. Adding insult to injury, people left Snapchat after the company’s redesign, which cost it the loss of 3 million daily users in Q2 2018 out of the 191 million that it had garnered the previous quarter.

However, it has been a good year for the company so far, and it seems that the Saudi Prince has had some research and insights into this.

Read: Is Disney a digital entertainment monopoly?

Gaining traction in the war

Net losses decreased 20% to $353 million in Q2 2018, compared to a net loss of $443 million in the same period last year, according to NASDAQ.

Snapchat’s revenues increased 44% to $262 million in Q2 2018, compared to revenues of $182 million in the same period last year, according to NASDAQ.

Commenting on this increase, Evan Spiegel, Snap CEO and Co-Founder, said: “We are excited by the progress we have been making and are optimistic about the opportunities ahead as we continue to invest in innovation,” and an opportunity did come.

Saudi Prince, Al Waleed Bin Talal, invested $250 million and bought 2.3% of the company.

Talking about Snapchat, Al Waleed said: “We believe it has only just begun to scratch the surface of its true potential and we are blessed to be part of it.”

Watch out, Facebook! Snapchat is out to prove why it was not an easy fish to swallow.

For a company known for its innovative way of taking shots, it sure is showing it can take a few hits as well.

Read: Your fridge has a new best friend: Food taxis

Prince Alwaleed is back on track

CNBC reported that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a longtime investor in international businesses including Citigroup, Twitter, Lyft and the Four Seasons hotel chain, announced a $270 million transaction with the French music-streaming company Deezer on Thursday.

“The Deezer investment is the prince’s first big international deal since January, when he was released from a three-month detention at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton hotel by Saudi government officials,” said CNBC.

“Under the terms of the deal, the prince will receive shares of Deezer in exchange for exclusive audio and video content from the Saudi media company he controls, Rotana Group.”