Prince Alwaleed not tempted by new internet buzz

Saudi billionaire says LinkedIn shares overpriced; sees indications of new internet 'bubble'
Prince Alwaleed not tempted by new internet buzz
Prince Alwaleed greets News Corps Rupert Murdock at an Abu Dhabi media conference.
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 20 May 2011 05:42 PM

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is not tempted to invest in any high-profile internet shares despite the impressive debut of social networking site LinkedIn on the New York Stock Exchange.

Alwaleed, who owns stakes in Citigroup and News Corp, said he believed there were indications that the response to LinkedIn was "exaggerated" and shares were overpriced.

Asked whether he would be interested in investing in such shares, he said he was not interested, adding: "I hope there is no new bubble in the internet arena because we had a big lesson before."

In an interview with Fox Business in the US, the chairman of Kingdom Holding Company added: "We are not interested in any bubble situation. Our policy is conservative."

LinkedIn Corp's shares more than doubled in their public trading debut on Thursday, evoking memories of the investor love affair with internet stocks during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

Only days ago, LinkedIn proposed a price range for the IPO that valued it at just over $3 billion. Now, after its first day of trade, it is worth nearly $9 billion.

"It seems to bring back memories of the tech bubble," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago told Reuters. "Based on what I know it seems like investors are a little overly enthusiastic."

LinkedIn is the first prominent US social networking company to publicly test just how hungry investors are for social media companies such as Facebook, Groupon and Twitter, which are widely expected to go public in coming months.

In the interview, Prince Alwaleed also praised the US for killing Osama bin Laden, saying the world "is a lot safer", adding: "I think the way [he was killed] was good, correct and any person who disputes that is not a human being."

Separately, Prince Alwaleed told US TV channel CNBC that oil should be in the $70 to $80 range and it was not in Saudi Arabia and OPEC's best interests for the price to be at the current elevated levels of over $110 a barrel.

"Our objective is not to have the price shoot above $100 and not have the per-gallon price in the US hover around $4," he said. "It's way above breakeven," he told CNBC.

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