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Alwaleed optimistic about Twitter’s future

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), gave an interview to Reuters in which he confirmed that he personally and Kingdom Holding Company will not be selling their stake in Twitter when the company goes public.

Below is the full interview with Reuters:

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says he will not sell any of his shares in microblogging site Twitter Inc. when it goes public, and expects the firm’s IPO to hit the market later this year or in early 2014.

The prince owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, invested $300 million in the social media giant in late 2011.

“Clearly the speed they’re moving with shows that they would like to IPO sooner than later. I believe it will happen either this year or early next year,” Alwaleed told Reuters in a telephone interview on Sunday.

“Twitter is a very strategic investment for us. We believe that it is just beginning to touch the surface. We have invested $300 million in the company. We will be selling zero, nothing, at the IPO.” He did not say whether he might buy new shares in the offer.

“With the 300 million customers they have and half a billion tweets a day, the growth potential is tremendous,” Alwaleed said.

He said Chief Executive Dick Costolo was “very knowledgeable, very much trustworthy.”

The market expects the company’s value once listed to be more than $10 billion; Alwaleed sees potential for a much higher valuation.

“We hear that the company is valued at $14 billion-$15 billion but there have been trades above this valuation. We believe it might be worth more than that.”

Alwaleed wouldn’t comment on whether Twitter would choose to list on the New York Stock Exchange in order to avoid Facebook’s disappointing experience on Nasdaq.

But, the prince said: “In my discussion with Mr. Costolo and the management of Twitter, I cautioned them to be very careful and not to repeat the mistakes of Facebook. The lessons are not to brag too much, don’t be greedy — I mean price it right and be realistic.”

He added: “There could be a good surprise for the market, where Twitter revenues coming from mobile compared to fixed devices are way ahead of what Facebook came with at the time of the IPO.”