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Update on Prince Alwaleed, Muslim Brotherhood’s Tech Investor

Mur­doch and Prince Alwaleed

COMMENT: It’s been a while since we caught up with Prince Alwaleed of Sau­di Arabia–a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood func­tionary who has assumed a large pro­file in the invest­ing indus­try, hi-tech in par­tic­u­lar.

Alwaleed has added Twit­ter to the com­pa­nies in which he invests.

Span­ning the divide between West­ern cor­po­rate invest­ing and the realm of Sau­di reli­gious aus­ter­i­ty and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, Alwaleed is the sec­ond largest stock­hold­er in News Cor­po­ra­tion behind Mur­doch him­self.

Before we get to the sub­ject of Alwaleed and Twit­ter, we note that the prince has alleged­ly availed him­self of anoth­er type of soft­ware.

“Spain Reopens Rape Case Against Sau­di Prince” by Raphael Min­der; The New York Times; 9/14/2011.

EXCERPT:The prince, Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdu­laz­iz al-Saud, a nephew of King Abdul­lah of Sau­di Ara­bia, is the largest indi­vid­ual stake­hold­er in Cit­i­group and, among his oth­er major hold­ings, is the sec­ond largest investor in the News Cor­po­ra­tion.

Forbes val­ued his for­tune this year at $19.4 bil­lion, mak­ing him the 26th rich­est man in the world and the sin­gle rich­est in the Arab world.

The accuser did not go pub­lic, and the orig­i­nal com­plaint appears to have remained large­ly unknown. The case was qui­et­ly closed in July 2010 for what a judge on the Mediter­ranean resort island of Ibiza called a lack of evi­dence. . . . .

COMMENT: Alwaleed has bought into Twit­ter at the same time as the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood has opt­ed to increase its media pro­file.

Might Alwaleed’s acqui­si­tion of Twit­ter stock  facil­i­tate the MB’s advance into, and use of, the social media?

“Sau­di Bil­lion­aire Buys $300 Mil­lion Stake in Twit­ter”; The Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Report; 12/20/2011.

EXCERPT: Glob­al media is report­ing that Sau­di Ara­bi­an Prince Walid bin Talal has bought a $300 mil­lion dol­lar stake in Twit­ter, the social-media giant. Accord­ing to a New York Times report:

Prince Walid bin Talal of Sau­di Ara­bia has tak­en a $300 mil­lion stake in the social media start-up Twit­ter. . . .
. . . Prince Walid bin Talal of Sau­di Ara­bia has tak­en a $300 mil­lion stake in the social media start-up Twit­ter, adding an emerg­ing brand name to an inter­na­tion­al invest­ment port­fo­lio that large­ly includes estab­lished giants like Apple, Cit­i­group and Walt Dis­ney.
Although the bil­lion­aire investor has long been known for tak­ing stakes in stal­warts, the Twit­ter deal focus­es on the next gen­er­a­tion of blue-chip com­pa­nies.
The five-year-old microblog­ging site, which now has more than 100 mil­lion active users, has quick­ly evolved into a ubiq­ui­tous com­mu­ni­ca­tions tool, allow­ing indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies to broad­cast and share infor­ma­tion in real-time.
Dur­ing the Arab Spring, rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies embraced Twit­ter as a means to gal­va­nize sup­port and orga­nize protests.

Discussion

11 comments for “Update on Prince Alwaleed, Muslim Brotherhood’s Tech Investor”

  1. In oth­er scary media-relat­ed news:

    Clear Chan­nel to Replace Green960, San Fran­cis­co’s Only AM Pro­gres­sive Talk Sta­tion, With Glenn Beck, Oth­er RWers as Elec­tion Year Begins
    By Brad Fried­man on 12/5/2011 12:07pm

    The only pro­gres­sive AM radio talk sta­tion, Green960-KKGN, in one of the nation’s most lib­er­al cities, San Fran­cis­co, is being tak­en off the AM dial by radio behe­moth Clear Chan­nel Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Inc. — a media con­glom­er­ate now owned by Mitt Rom­ney’s Bain Cap­i­tal, LLC — at the begin­ning of the 2012 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year.

    Adding insult to injury for pro­gres­sives in the Bay Area, the 960 slot on the dial is being replaced by Clear Chan­nel with the likes of Glenn Beck, Fox News Radio’s John Gib­son and oth­er rad­i­cal Rightwing talk­ers, accord­ing to a press release [PDF] issued by the media giant last week, tout­ing, in some­what Orwellian terms, their “goal of expand­ing talk radio in San Fran­cis­co.”

    “We saw the oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand our foot­print in this cru­cial are­na as we head into an elec­tion year and a pop­u­la­tion increas­ing­ly engaged in local, state, and nation­al events and activism,” says Clear Chan­nel’s San Fran­cis­co Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions Don Park­er in the release.

    The expan­sion will amount to mov­ing Green960’s cur­rent sched­ule of pro­gres­sive talk shows off the AM band, and on to FM’s HD2 radio ghet­to where it will become a large­ly auto­mat­ed “robo-sta­tion,” accord­ing to sev­er­al radio insid­ers famil­iar with the sta­tion and Clear Chan­nel’s plans for it. The sta­tion which was for­mer­ly Green960 will have the catchy new name “FM Pro­gres­sive Talk 103.7–2” at its new home, if lis­ten­ers can find it.

    ...

    In many of those cities, the pro­gres­sive sta­tion is usu­al­ly car­ried on a weak­er sig­nal and broad­cast­ers and their syn­di­ca­tors have point­ed out that there is often lit­tle, if any, mar­ket­ing done to pro­mote the pro­gres­sive sta­tions. Such was the case on San Fran­cis­co’s Green960 pri­or to last week’s announce­ment, accord­ing to a num­ber of insid­ers who spoke to The BRAD BLOG off record.

    Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many that we’ve con­sult­ed with for this arti­cle either work for Clear Chan­nel or still rely on them to broad­cast their pro­grams so they chose not to speak on the record, though some did.

    Accord­ing to their web­site, Clear Chan­nel has “more than 850” sta­tions reach­ing “more than 110 mil­lion lis­ten­ers every week.” Wikipedia says that “Clear Chan­nel is the largest own­er of full-pow­er AM, FM, and short­wave radio sta­tions and twelve radio chan­nels on XM Satel­lite Radio, and is also the largest pure-play radio sta­tion own­er and oper­a­tor.”

    After pas­sage of the Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Act of 1996, as signed by Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, media goliaths like Clear Chan­nel were allowed to buy up mul­ti­ple, often com­pet­ing sta­tions in the same mar­ket and allowed leas­es by the FCC for mul­ti­ple fre­quen­cies on our pub­licly-owned air­waves in each city.

    The law was sold by leg­is­la­tors and lob­by­ists on the premise that it would increase com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket place. The net effect has been the exact oppo­site as pro­gres­sive sta­tions have not been allowed to com­pete for audi­ences on an hon­est and lev­el play­ing field against Rightwing talk sta­tions owned by the very same com­pa­nies in the very same mar­ket.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 3, 2012, 8:16 am
  2. The Alwaleed Effect:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/twitter-to-censor-tweets-in-some-countries_n_1235116.html

    Twit­ter To Cen­sor Tweets In Some Coun­tries
    First Post­ed: 01/26/2012

    SAN FRANCISCO — Twit­ter has refined its tech­nol­o­gy so it can cen­sor mes­sages on a coun­try-by-coun­try basis.

    The addi­tion­al flex­i­bil­i­ty announced Thurs­day is like­ly to raise fears that Twit­ter’s com­mit­ment to free speech may be weak­en­ing as the short-mes­sag­ing com­pa­ny expands into new coun­tries in an attempt to broad­en its audi­ence and make more mon­ey.

    But Twit­ter sees the cen­sor­ship tool as a way to ensure indi­vid­ual mes­sages, or “tweets,” remain avail­able to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble while it nav­i­gates a gaunt­let of dif­fer­ent laws around the world.

    Before, when Twit­ter erased a tweet it dis­ap­peared through­out the world. Now, a tweet con­tain­ing con­tent break­ing a law in one coun­try can be tak­en down there and still be seen else­where.

    Twit­ter will post a cen­sor­ship notice when­ev­er a tweet is removed. That’s sim­i­lar to what Inter­net search leader Google Inc. has been doing for years when a law in a coun­try where its ser­vice oper­ates requires a search result to be removed.

    Like Google, Twit­ter also plans to the share the removal requests it receives from gov­ern­ments, com­pa­nies and indi­vid­u­als at the chillingeffects.org web­site.

    The sim­i­lar­i­ty to Google’s pol­i­cy isn’t coin­ci­den­tal. Twit­ter’s gen­er­al coun­sel is Alexan­der Macgillivray, who helped Google draw up its cen­sor­ship poli­cies while he was work­ing at that com­pa­ny.

    “One of our core val­ues as a com­pa­ny is to defend and respect each user’s voice,” Twit­ter wrote in a blog post. “We try to keep con­tent up wher­ev­er and when­ev­er we can, and we will be trans­par­ent with users when we can’t. The tweets must con­tin­ue to flow.”

    Twit­ter, which is based in San Fran­cis­co, is tweak­ing its approach now that its near­ly 6‑year-old ser­vice has estab­lished itself as one of the world’s most pow­er­ful mega­phones. Daisy chains of tweets already have played instru­men­tal roles in polit­i­cal protests through­out the world, most notably in the upris­ing that over­threw Egyp­t’s gov­ern­ment a year ago.

    It’s a role that Twit­ter has embraced, but the com­pa­ny came up with the new fil­ter­ing tech­nol­o­gy in recog­ni­tion that it will like­ly be forced to cen­sor more tweets as it pur­sues an ambi­tious agen­da. Among oth­er things, Twit­ter wants to expand its audi­ence from about 100 mil­lion active uses now, to more than 1 bil­lion.

    Reach­ing that goal will require expand­ing into more coun­tries, which will mean Twit­ter will be more like­ly to have to sub­mit to laws that run counter to the free-expres­sion pro­tec­tions guar­an­teed under the First Amend­ment in the U.S.

    If Twit­ter defies a law in a coun­try where it has employ­ees, those peo­ple could be arrest­ed. That’s one rea­son Twit­ter is unlike­ly to try to enter Chi­na, where its ser­vice is cur­rent­ly blocked. Google for sev­er­al years agreed to cen­sor its search results in Chi­na to gain bet­ter access to the coun­try’s vast pop­u­la­tion, but stopped that prac­tice two years after engag­ing in a high-pro­file show­down with Chain’s gov­ern­ment. Google now routes its Chi­nese search results through Hong Kong, where the cen­sor­ship rules are less restric­tive.

    In its Thurs­day blog post, Twit­ter said it had­n’t yet used its abil­i­ty to wipe out tweets in an indi­vid­ual coun­try. All the tweets it has pre­vi­ous­ly cen­sored were wiped out through­out the world. Most of those includ­ed links to child pornog­ra­phy.

    Posted by R. Wilson | January 27, 2012, 5:38 am
  3. Sharp Eyes, Mr. Wil­son!

    Maybe we can call this “the Arab Sprung!”

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 27, 2012, 11:38 am
  4. I’d sure like to know what Kissinger promised Putin or threat­ened him with over Syr­ia. I see a bil­ious Kissinger at a podi­um, pound­ing his shoe, shout­ing “We will tweet you!”... Get it? Remem­ber Khr­uschev?... nev­er mind.
    The Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, USAID and ‘democ­ra­cy’ pro­mot­ing NGOs are busy grow­ing the Russ­ian social net­works for a try at oust­ing Putin. I hope they don’t get flus­tered and call it the Red Rev­o­lu­tion — been there, done that.

    Posted by Dwight | January 27, 2012, 1:10 pm
  5. ..and what col­or would a Russ­ian ‘col­or’ rev­o­lu­tion be? White, of course.

    Posted by Dwight | January 27, 2012, 1:14 pm
  6. @Dwight: If this is hap­pen­ing then they’re try­ing to hijack yet anoth­er legit­i­mate demo­c­ra­t­ic reform move­ment, giv­en that Putin is one of the pup­pets of the world crime network(yes, includ­ing the Under­ground Reich, they loved this guy! The per­fect lit­tle Krem­lin pup­pet.).

    Hope­ful­ly, Rus­sia does­n’t end up turn­ing into a bonafide banana repub­lic as the Teabag­gers have tried here in Amer­i­ca........

    Posted by Steven L. | January 28, 2012, 4:02 am
  7. @Dwight: And why is ‘democ­ra­cy’ in quotes?

    Posted by Steven L. | January 28, 2012, 4:03 am
  8. Par­al­lel con­ver­sa­tions on Sau­di tech investors on whowhatwhy.com

    http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/02/02/close-reading-the-saudis-a-twitter-investment-and-the-end-of-arab-spring/

    Posted by Keith | February 2, 2012, 5:32 pm
  9. http://www.arabianbusiness.com/prince-alwaleed-launches-new-alarab-tv-network-580580.html
    Prince Alwaleed launch­es new Alarab TV net­work
    By Court­ney Tren­with

    Sun­day, 1 Feb­ru­ary 2015 12:14 PM

    Sau­di busi­ness­man Prince Alwaleed bin Talal launched his new Ara­bic TV chan­nel, Alarab TV, in Bahrain on Sun­day.

    The chan­nel, said to have 280 staff includ­ing cor­re­spon­dents in 30 coun­tries, is set to be a com­peti­tor to Qatar-backed Al Jazeera, estab­lished in 1996, and Dubai-based Al Ara­biya, which was launched in 2003 by Waleed Al Ebrahim, a broth­er-in-law of Sau­di Arabia’s late King Fahad.

    Both sta­tions have been accused of being a front to pro­mote the polit­i­cal views of their own­ers.

    Al Arab gen­er­al man­ag­er Jamal Khashog­gi has insist­ed the new chan­nel would be objec­tive.

    “We are not going to take sides,” he said in an inter­view.

    “I think a news chan­nel should not have a polit­i­cal agen­da... We should just be a news chan­nel that pro­vides accu­rate, objec­tive infor­ma­tion.”

    Khashog­gi, a vet­er­an Sau­di jour­nal­ist, was him­self forced to resign from Sau­di Arabia’s Al Watan dai­ly after it ran an opin­ion col­umn that angered reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tives in 2010.

    Despite its largest bureau being in Riyadh, with 20 employ­ees, Alarab TV was forced to set-up in Bahrain because Sau­di Ara­bia does not allow inde­pen­dent broad­cast­ers.

    Prince Alwaleed is chair­man of Sau­di-based King­dom Hold­ing, which has stakes in media com­pa­nies such as News Cor­po­ra­tion, Twit­ter and Rotana Group, which runs enter­tain­ment TV chan­nels in the Mid­dle East.

    Its diverse inter­ests also include the Dis­ney­land Paris theme park, Cit­i­group and Four Sea­sons hotels.

    Prince Alwaleed, who does not hold any gov­ern­ment role, has been crit­i­cal of the high­ly con­ser­v­a­tive Sau­di gov­ern­ment under the late King Abdul­lah, who is his uncle.

    In Decem­ber, he said some Sau­di min­is­ters were arro­gant and supe­ri­or and need­ed to “do more for the Sau­di cit­i­zen” dur­ing an inter­view with the Eng­lish dai­ly Sau­di Gazette.

    He also has implored the gov­ern­ment to estab­lish a sov­er­eign wealth fund to pro­tect it against the slid­ing oil price, while describ­ing its reliance on oil rev­enues for 90 per­cent of the bud­get income as “a mis­take”.

    Posted by Vanfield | February 1, 2015, 11:01 pm
  10. It sounds like we can expect A LOT more invest­ments from Sau­di Ara­bia in the tech sec­tor as a con­se­quence of Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s plan to diver­si­fy its econ­o­my away from the petro­le­um indus­try. More pre­cise­ly, about $45 bil­lion in tech invest­ments over the next five years :

    Reuters

    Sau­di Ara­bia, Soft­Bank plan $100 bil­lion tech fund — one of the world’s biggest

    By Andrew Torchia and Thomas Wil­son | DUBAI/TOKYO

    Sau­di Ara­bia and Japan’s Soft­Bank Group (9984.T) said they will cre­ate a tech­nol­o­gy invest­ment fund that could grow as large as $100 bil­lion, aim­ing to cre­ate one of the world’s largest pri­vate equi­ty funds.

    The plan is part of a series of dra­mat­ic busi­ness ini­tia­tives launched by Riyadh this year as Sau­di Ara­bia, its econ­o­my hurt by low oil prices, deploys huge finan­cial reserves in an effort to move into non-oil indus­tries.

    Soft­Bank’s founder and chair­man Masayoshi Son, who has built his com­pa­ny into a $68 bil­lion telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and tech invest­ment behe­moth from a $50,000 start-up, has been seek­ing to expand in new areas.

    The Pub­lic Invest­ment Fund (PIF), Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s top sov­er­eign wealth fund, is set to be the lead invest­ment part­ner and may invest up to $45 bil­lion over the next five years while Soft­Bank expects to invest at least $25 bil­lion, the Japan­ese com­pa­ny said in a state­ment.

    Sev­er­al oth­er large investors are in talks on their pos­si­ble par­tic­i­pa­tion and could bring the total size of the new fund up to $100 bil­lion. The investors were not iden­ti­fied.

    “With the estab­lish­ment of the Soft­Bank Vision Fund, we will be able to step up invest­ments in tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies glob­al­ly. Over the next decade, the Soft­Bank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor,” Soft­Bank Chair­man Masayoshi Son said.

    The fund would be man­aged in Britain by a sub­sidiary of Soft­Bank.

    INVESTMENT POWER

    Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, lead­ing an eco­nom­ic reform dri­ve in the king­dom, has revealed a string of high-pro­file invest­ment plans this year.

    He has said he aims to expand the PIF, found­ed in 1971 to finance devel­op­ment projects in the king­dom and until this year lit­tle known abroad, from $160 bil­lion to about $2 tril­lion, mak­ing it the world’s largest sov­er­eign fund.

    In June, the PIF depart­ed from Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s tra­di­tion­al strat­e­gy of low-risk invest­ments and took a step into the tech world by announc­ing the $3.5 bil­lion pur­chase of a stake in U.S. ride-hail­ing firm Uber.

    The deal illus­trat­ed how Riyadh now hopes to use its invest­ments to devel­op the econ­o­my: Uber is a pop­u­lar form of trans­port for Sau­di women, who are banned from dri­ving, and is cre­at­ing bad­ly need­ed non-oil jobs for Sau­di cit­i­zens.

    Soft­Bank’s tech and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions port­fo­lio ranges from U.S. car­ri­er Sprint (S.N) to a stake in Chi­nese e‑commerce giant Aliba­ba (BABA.N).

    Its $32 bil­lion pur­chase of British com­pa­ny ARM in July estab­lished its first major pres­ence in chip mak­ing, dri­ven by expec­ta­tions for a shift to the so-called “inter­net of things” – net­works of con­nect­ed devices, vehi­cles and sen­sors.

    ...

    The Pub­lic Invest­ment Fund (PIF), Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s top sov­er­eign wealth fund, is set to be the lead invest­ment part­ner and may invest up to $45 bil­lion over the next five years while Soft­Bank expects to invest at least $25 bil­lion, the Japan­ese com­pa­ny said in a state­ment.”

    While $45 bil­lion over five years is a pret­ty big invest­ment, note that Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s Pub­lic Invest­ment Fund is planned to reach $2 tril­lion in assets, but is cur­rent­ly only about $160 bil­lion:

    ...
    Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, lead­ing an eco­nom­ic reform dri­ve in the king­dom, has revealed a string of high-pro­file invest­ment plans this year.

    He has said he aims to expand the PIF, found­ed in 1971 to finance devel­op­ment projects in the king­dom and until this year lit­tle known abroad, from $160 bil­lion to about $2 tril­lion, mak­ing it the world’s largest sov­er­eign fund.
    ...

    So although $45 bil­lion might seem like a large fig­ure for a five year time frame, it’s also just a small frac­tion of what Sau­di Ara­bia is plan­ning on invest­ing in non-petro­le­um sec­tors in com­ing years which means that $45 bil­lion fig­ure is prob­a­bly just the start of what could be a much larg­er Sau­di acqui­si­tion of for­eign tech­nol­o­gy assets.

    And yes, this means a gov­ern­ment ded­i­cat­ed to the preser­va­tion of one of the most medieval cul­tures on the plan­et is striv­ing to be one of the biggest investors in the tools of the future. #scar­i­lyiron­ic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 14, 2016, 5:01 pm
  11. So remem­ber when Sau­di Ara­bia announced that it was cre­at­ing a gigan­tic tech­nol­o­gy invest­ment fund in part­ner­ship with Japan’s Soft­Bank that was going to be invest­ing heav­i­ly in tech com­pa­nies over the next five years? Well, check out Don­ald Trump’s tweet today and how proud he is that he was able to attract invest­ment from exact­ly that fund:

    Masa (Soft­Bank) of Japan has agreed to invest $50 bil­lion in the U.S. toward busi­ness­es and 50,000 new jobs....— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Decem­ber 6, 2016

    And note the asser­tion in Trump’s fol­lowup tweet: This big $50 bil­lion invest­ment sim­ply would­n’t have hap­pened if Trump had­n’t won the elec­tion:

    Masa said he would nev­er do this had we (Trump) not won the elec­tion!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Decem­ber 6, 2016

    LOL! Yeah, the new Sau­di Arabia/SoftBank gigan­tic tech fund was appar­ent­ly going to skip out on the US tech­nol­o­gy mar­ket entirely...until Trump won. Suu­u­ure. And this was­n’t a crass pub­lic­i­ty stunt designed at cur­ry­ing favor with the Pres­i­dent-elect or any­thing like that. No, that can’t be. Nor could it be that this ia part of a pub­lic rela­tions cam­paign designed to make a Trump admin­is­tra­tion like­ly to approve of a merg­er of the Soft­Bank-own Sprint with Deutsche Tele­com-owned T‑mobile. A merg­er that US reg­u­la­tors turned down two years ago over con­cerns that it would sti­fle com­pe­ti­tion in the US cel­lu­lar mar­kets. No, it must be that the SoftBank/Saudi tech­nol­o­gy invest­ment had no plans at all to buy up US tech firms...until Don­ald Trump become the pres­i­dent-elect, which total­ly changed their minds. Yep, that’s the tick­et:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal

    When Bil­lion­aires Meet: $50 Bil­lion Pledge From Soft­Bank to Trump
    After meet­ing Don­ald Trump, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son puts sheds new light on exist­ing invest­ment plans

    y Ryan Knut­son
    Updat­ed Dec. 6, 2016 6:19 p.m. ET

    Masayoshi Son, the brash bil­lion­aire who con­trols Sprint Corp., said Tues­day he would invest $50 bil­lion in the U.S. and cre­ate 50,000 new jobs, fol­low­ing a 45-minute pri­vate meet­ing with Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

    The tele­com mogul, who made his for­tune in Japan with Soft­Bank Group Corp., announced his invest­ment plans in the lob­by of Trump Tow­er, though he didn’t pro­vide details. Mr. Trump took cred­it for the invest­ment, say­ing his Novem­ber vic­to­ry spurred SoftBank’s deci­sion.

    Mr. Son told reporters he planned to “invest into the new start­up com­pa­nies in the Unit­ed States.” It would be dif­fi­cult to cre­ate 50,000 jobs entire­ly by invest­ing in star­tups, which gen­er­al­ly employ few work­ers. Sprint employs about 30,000 peo­ple and has cut jobs to com­bat loss­es.

    In an inter­view, Mr. Son said the mon­ey will be com­ing from a $100 bil­lion invest­ment fund that he began set­ting up ear­li­er this year with Sau­di Arabia’s sov­er­eign-wealth fund and oth­er poten­tial part­ners.

    Mr. Son’s plan to pour $50 bil­lion is mas­sive com­pared with the total amount of cap­i­tal in ven­ture cir­cles. Ven­ture-cap­i­tal firms had $163 bil­lion avail­able to invest in new deals as of June 2016, accord­ing to research firm Pre­qin.

    In addi­tion to star­tups, Mr. Son also has his sights on acqui­si­tions as large as $30 bil­lion, a per­son famil­iar with his think­ing said.

    In addi­tion to Kansas-based Sprint, which Soft­Bank acquired in 2013 for $22 bil­lion, the com­pa­ny also led a $1 bil­lion invest­ment round last year in San Fran­cis­co-based online lender Social Finance Inc.

    When he acquired Sprint, Mr. Son’s ini­tial plan was to merge the car­ri­er with Ger­man-owned T‑Mobile US Inc. to take on mar­ket lead­ers AT&T Inc. and Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., but he aban­doned the effort after reg­u­la­tors sig­naled they would reject the plan. Some investors and ana­lysts have said he could make anoth­er attempt after Mr. Trump’s elec­tion and when a new chair­man is appoint­ed to the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion.

    Mr. Son planned to tell Mr. Trump about what hap­pened with T‑Mobile, and how he had want­ed to invest in the U.S. but the reg­u­la­to­ry cli­mate was too harsh so he invest­ed out­side the U.S. instead, the per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter said.

    On Tues­day, Mr. Son declined to com­ment about his cur­rent inter­est in T‑Mobile.

    The 59-year-old is known as an ambi­tious investor who bets on tech and tele­com ven­tures. His com­pa­ny has a large stake in China’s Aliba­ba Group and most recent­ly bought U.K. chip design­er ARM Hold­ings PLC for $32 bil­lion.

    Mr. Son has a his­to­ry of going straight to nation­al lead­ers to talk busi­ness. In Sep­tem­ber he met South Kore­an Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye, and said he intends to invest about five tril­lion won (about $4.5 bil­lion) in the country’s tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor. He also has met Indi­an Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and pledged to spend bil­lions on the nation’s tech star­tups and renew­able ener­gy projects.

    With the new $100 bil­lion fund—dubbed the Soft­Bank Vision Fund—Mr. Son plans to spend heav­i­ly in fields includ­ing the so-called Inter­net of Things, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, deep learn­ing and robot­ics. He has said he wants to become the War­ren Buf­fett of the tech indus­try.

    Soft­Bank plans to invest at least $25 bil­lion dur­ing the next five years in the fund, while Sau­di Arabia’s Pub­lic Invest­ment Fund may con­tribute an addi­tion­al $45 bil­lion over the same peri­od as the fund’s lead part­ner. Oth­er investors are still being final­ized. Invest­ments are expect­ed to be made over the next five years.

    ...

    “Mr. Son planned to tell Mr. Trump about what hap­pened with T‑Mobile, and how he had want­ed to invest in the U.S. but the reg­u­la­to­ry cli­mate was too harsh so he invest­ed out­side the U.S. instead, the per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter said.”

    Ok, the writ­ing is on the wall here, so get ready for T‑Sprint, or what­ev­er they’re going to call it. It will be inter­est­ing to see the net job cre­ation from this upcom­ing major tele­com merg­er. Espe­cial­ly since the gut­ting of dupli­cat­ed jobs is, you know, sort of one of the big incen­tives for mega-merg­ers of this nature. Maybe we’re sup­posed to assume all the new jobs will be com­ing from all the oth­er acqui­si­tions this Saudi/SoftBank con­sor­tium is plan­ning on mak­ing in the US tech sec­tor:

    ...

    With the new $100 bil­lion fund—dubbed the Soft­Bank Vision Fund—Mr. Son plans to spend heav­i­ly in fields includ­ing the so-called Inter­net of Things, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, deep learn­ing and robot­ics. He has said he wants to become the War­ren Buf­fett of the tech indus­try.

    ...

    Well, it does­n’t sound like the SoftBank/Saudi tech fund is going to have many chal­lenges buy­ing US tech­nol­o­gy firms for the next four years, so who knows, maybe he real­ly will be the “War­ren Buf­fett of the tech indus­try”. Although it’s worth not­ing that it’s the Saud­is who will be putting up the bulk of the tech­nol­o­gy fund’s cap­i­tal, so it’s unclear who would be the actu­al “War­ren Buf­fet of the tech indus­try” if the Saudi/SoftBank con­sor­tium suc­ceeds.

    Either way, there’s going to be one clear win­ner the con­sor­tium’s suc­cess: The Sin­gu­lar­i­ty:

    Ven­ture­Beat

    SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son is invest­ing to make the ‘Sin­gu­lar­i­ty’ hap­pen

    Dean Taka­hashi Octo­ber 25, 2016 9:11 AM

    The Sin­gu­lar­i­ty is the day in the future when machine intel­li­gence exceeds all human intel­li­gence com­bined. It has been her­ald­ed by futur­ists such as Ray Kurzweil and Ver­nor Vinge, and it has pro­vid­ed the inspi­ra­tion for the invest­ment strat­e­gy of one of the world’s most pow­er­ful men: Masayoshi Son, CEO and founder of Soft­Bank.

    Son said so in a press brief­ing today ahead of his keynote speech at ARM Tech­Con, the annu­al devel­op­er con­fer­ence for ARM, the U.K.-based chip design com­pa­ny that Soft­Bank bought last month for $31 bil­lion. The press brief­ing was his first pub­lic appear­ance with Simon Segars, CEO of ARM, since the deal closed in Sep­tem­ber.

    Son said that he want­ed to own ARM for more than a decade, but couldn’t afford to buy it ear­li­er. Instead, he chose to acquire Sprint in a bid to com­bine it with T‑Mobile to take on AT&T and Ver­i­zon. But the gov­ern­ment blocked the T‑Mobile deal, and Son was despon­dent for awhile. How­ev­er, he said he was hap­py that Sprint has turned itself around.

    ...

    With ARM, there’s an imme­di­ate oppor­tu­ni­ty with the Inter­net of Things, or the bil­lions of chips nec­es­sary to make every­day objects smart, con­nect­ed, and sen­sorized. That puts the com­pa­ny on the road to link­ing the world’s chips and tech infra­struc­ture togeth­er, to get ready for the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty.

    By con­trast, he said of the game com­pa­nies, “We had to give up some­thing that was not core to our strat­e­gy. Core to our strat­e­gy was ARM. We had to sell some­thing. I didn’t want to sell Super­cell, and I did not want to sell Gung­Ho. I did not want to sell Aliba­ba. But ARM was so crit­i­cal to our strat­e­gy.”

    Son said that he teamed up with a Sau­di Ara­bi­an group to raise a $100 bil­lion invest­ment fund as part of a plan to move to the next stage.

    “I think a big par­a­digm shift is com­ing,” he said. “The biggest theme in my view is the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty. I think it is com­ing into real­i­ty in the next 30 years. For that vision, I am exer­cis­ing that strat­e­gy. $100 bil­lion is an inter­est­ing size of ammu­ni­tion. In my view, that is the begin­ning. My pas­sion is big­ger than many peo­ple think.”

    He added, “There’s a huge dynam­ic change and oppor­tu­ni­ty. Many com­pa­nies will be rein­vent­ed with super-intel­li­gence com­ing to us. The micro­proces­sor” is the heart of that, he said, and that’s what ARM designs.

    Asked whether he thinks the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty could be dan­ger­ous, based on sci­ence fic­tion sto­ries about arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence rebelling against humans, he said, “If you think of the his­to­ry of mankind, there was fire. It’s dan­ger­ous if you mis­use it. If you use it the right way, it makes mankind’s life dra­mat­i­cal­ly bet­ter. It’s a dou­ble-edged sword. The Sin­gu­lar­i­ty in the wrong way could be super dan­ger­ous. But it will help peo­ple live longer and have more pro­duc­tive lives. No more acci­dents on the high­way and so on. There are a lot of great results we can achieve with the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty.”

    Segers added, “All of our tech­nol­o­gy we have today has made life a lot eas­i­er. The qual­i­ty of life. More intel­li­gent tech­nol­o­gy is only going to help that. We are think­ing of how com­put­ing enables this intel­li­gence.”

    “I think a big par­a­digm shift is coming...The biggest theme in my view is the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty. I think it is com­ing into real­i­ty in the next 30 years. For that vision, I am exer­cis­ing that strat­e­gy. $100 bil­lion is an inter­est­ing size of ammu­ni­tion. In my view, that is the begin­ning. My pas­sion is big­ger than many peo­ple think.”

    Yes, Mr. Son is so enthu­si­as­tic about cre­at­ing the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty that he’s plan­ning on cre­at­ing a tech­nol­o­gy empire so mas­sive that the cur­rent $100 bil­lion fund is just the begin­ning. And the part­ner (who is putting up most of the mon­ey) he has cho­sen for his pas­sion­ate tran­shu­man­ist tech­nol­o­gy adven­ture is the gov­ern­ment of Sau­di Ara­bia. If you’re cur­rent­ly an employ­ee at a tech­nol­o­gy firm that might pos­si­bly be use­ful in cre­at­ing super arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, get ready for a new investor.

    So while it’s unclear where the 50,000 new jobs are sup­posed to come from that Mr. Son is pledg­ing to cre­ate, at least there might be a Sin­gu­lar­i­ty soon­er than you think! Let’s just hope its cre­ators are extreme­ly del­i­cate when they explain to the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty that its par­ent species recent­ly thrust some­one like Don­ald Trump into the most pow­er­ful office in the world. We prob­a­bly don’t want to give it too much of a supe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 6, 2016, 8:19 pm

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