Alwaleed's $1 Billion Loan for Fransi Stake Is Said on Hold

  • Banks are said to be nervous after prince caught up in purge
  • Kingdom Holding bought 16.2% in Fransi from Credit Agricole

A First-Hand Account of the Days Before Alwaleed's Arrest

Kingdom Holding Co.’s plan to raise about $1 billion in loans is on hold after its owner Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was detained as part of the country’s anti-corruption drive, people familiar with the matter said.

The investment firm had been in talks with local and international lenders since October about the financing backed by the Banque Saudi Fransi stake, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Banks are now concerned about the uncertainty surrounding Kingdom Holding after Alwaleed was arrested earlier this month, they said.

Alwaleed is among princes, ministers and senior officials being held on orders from a recently-established anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The prince in September bought a 16.2 percent stake in Saudi Fransi from Credit Agricole SA through Kingdom Holding. The French bank had struggled to find an international buyer for all of the 31 percent it owned and sold to Alwaleed at a discount in a deal valued at about $1.54 billion.

Alwaleed is now Saudi Fransi’s largest investor, adding to an extensive portfolio that includes a Citigroup Inc. stake which the prince has held since 1991. Kingdom Holding, in which Alwaleed owns 95 percent, is also an investor in Twitter Inc., JD.com Inc. and Accor Hotels.

An official at Kingdom Holding declined to comment. Reuters on Monday reported that loans talks had stalled.

— With assistance by Matthew Martin

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