After shunning high-tech stocks during their years of white-hot growth, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud has taken an interest in Apple Computer. On Apr. 1, he announced that he had quietly bought $115 million of Apple stock over the preceding month, giving him a 5%-plus stake. He indicates he may buy more, too.
The prince has done very well with out-of-favor companies: He has made over $3 billion on Citicorp shares bought in 1991, and stakes in Euro Disney and Canary Wharf have paid off big. He may already be ahead on Apple: On Mar. 27, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told a newspaper he was mulling a bid for the company. That sent Apple stock up 1 7/8, to 18 5/8. Alwaleed says the two billionaires have not talked, but he notes, "Ellison is respected, and I admire him. But when I began picking up Apple, I didn't even know he was going to bid."
The prince, 40, is typically a passive investor. And as part-owner of the Four Seasons hotel chain, he's busy building hotels in nearly a dozen Arab cities.