A Saudi prince has invested $105 million into Lyft

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In contrast to Uber’s aggressive international expansion, Lyft has chosen to focus all of its attention on its home market, but despite the fact that it only operates in the United States, the ride-sharing service is actually attracting a lot of foreign investment. The most-notable of these investors is Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who recently led a $247.7 million round of funding for Lyft to acquire somewhere around 5% of the company, with 2.3% going directly to him. Al-Waleed has invested in numerous American companies in the past, including Apple and Twitter, but what makes this investment a bit odd is the fact that Lyft isn’t an international company.

Lyft is now partly owned by Saudi prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud. The prince led a recent $247.7 million round for a roughly 5 percent stake in the ridesharing service – putting up $105 million in his own funding as part of the deal for 2.3 percent of the pie. Al-Waleed is a global investor and business magnate some have dubbed the “Arabian Warren Buffet” for his vast business dealings. He owns and runs Kingdom Holding Company, which has a market cap of $18 billion and invests in various business sectors including hotels, media, banking, technology and real estate. He owns a substantial amount in Citigroup and News Corp and has made investments in many technology conglomerates before this deal, including in our parent company AOL. The prince’s firm also holds a stake in Apple, Twitter and Motorola. Lyft filed to raise as much as $1 billion earlier this month, authorizing close to 37 million shares at a price of around $26.79. The new investment gives Lyft a new valuation of $4.9 billion. That’s a drop compared to Uber’s new $62.5 billion cap, but could put the younger, fuzzier Lyft ahead of its rival when comparing timelines. Remember Uber had a $3.5 billion valuation around the same time as Lyft did in its own growth cycle.

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