NORWALK, Conn. - Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal agreed to inject $50 million into Priceline.com, which would double a stake he took in the venture in May.
Prince Alwaleed, chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. in Riyadh and a nephew of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, is an avid investor in U.S. companies. He is one of Citigroup's largest individual shareholders, with a stake of more than $10 billion. A spokesman said the prince sold $1 billion worth of Citi stock this year.
Priceline, whose service lets consumers bid auction-style for airline tickets, food items, and other retail goods, is headed by Richard S. Braddock, the former president of Citicorp, which is a predecessor company to Citigroup. Mr. Braddock left Citi in 1992 after the company was emerging from the late-1980s credit crunch. It was during that loan crisis that Mr. Braddock developed a relationship with Prince Alwaleed, a spokesman for Priceline said.
Under an agreement announced Monday, Prince Alwaleed is to purchase a forward contract to buy two million shares at $25 each from Priceline founder Jay Walker. In May the prince invested $1 billion in the stock of 15 U.S. companies, including Walt Disney, McDonald's, Priceline, Amazon.com, and Ebay.com. At that time his Priceline stock investment totaled $50 million.