Kingdom Holding Company
Al-Waleed bin Talal

Lyft Takes In More Foreign Investment – Including From A Saudi Prince

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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.

Unlike Uber, the ridesharing startup has chosen not to expand into foreign lands so far, instead focusing on foreign partnerships and of course money. China’s Didi Kuadi was part of the last round of funding and has since partnered with the ridesharing startup on an exchange basis. China-based ecommerce giant Alibaba was also part of that round.