Alwaleed's Kingdom, on prowl for acquisitions, plans hotel sale

Mon May 6, 2013 4:42pm EDT
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By Mirna Sleiman and Angus McDowall

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will hold onto his most high-profile investments, which range from stakes in Citigroup and News Corp to microblogging site Twitter, while seeking out new targets to diversify his global portfolio.

Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, Alwaleed's investment vehicle, has asked investment banks to identify possible acquisition targets around the world and plans to sell its stake in 20-30 hotels in the next two years, he told Reuters on Monday.

"We have talked with certain investment banks to look at opportunities that we may have not seen in our region. This is in motion right now," said Alwaleed, who owns 95 percent of Kingdom, in an interview in Riyadh on Monday.

"We intentionally try to be diversified by location and by industry so we won't have much concentration in one arena."

Kingdom Holding, which went public in 2007, has a market value of around $17 billion, making it one of the largest listed investment firms in the Middle East.

Alwaleed, a nephew of King Abdullah, has also moved to divest some of his investments in real estate and hotels in recent months, and said he plans to sell 20-30 more hotels in Africa, the Middle East and Asia in the next two years.

"Those are traded portfolio. We just take them, we reconstruct them with our partners, we brand them... and then we sell them. It's like a recycling situation," he said.

Kingdom owns stock in hotel ownership and management companies such as Movenpick, Fairmont, Raffles and Four Seasons, which Alwaleed said he would not sell. It also has direct stakes in specific hotels run by these companies.   Continued...

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, May 6, 2013. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser