Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal revealed that he has acquired a 2.3% stake in Snap Inc for a sum of $250 million, just hours before the picture sharing platform revealed its quarter two earnings.
The investment is the latest among a series of others, including a $266.7 million stake in French music streaming service Deezer. Prince Alwaleed also holds stakes in companies such as Lyft, Twitter, JD.com and Careem.
“Snapchat is one of the most innovative social media platforms in the world and we believe it has only just begun to scratch the surface of its true potential and we are blessed to be part of it,” said the Saudi-based businessman.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and his chief strategy officer Imran Khan had met with Alwaleed in 2015 during their visit to the Kingdom to scout for investment opportunities.
Alwaleed’s investment comes as the social media platform’s second quarter earnings beat analysts’ expectations but saw user numbers decline for the first time – largely due to a redesign of the app. But Snap has managed to grow its average revenue per user by 34% this quarter while it advertising revenues grew by 48% during the same period, making it appealing to investors.
The Middle East itself is a lucrative market for Snap with a good portion of its millennials hooked to the platform. Nearly 9.4 million people use Snapchat every day in Saudi alone, with around 75% of these users aged between 18 and 25, and 20% of those aged 35 and above. Comparatively, the UAE is a smaller market with just around a million users.
Snapchat, though, is facing stiff competition from platforms like Instagram which has similar features like Snap. GDPR regulations, which came into effect earlier this year, have also impacted the number of Snapchat users.