Teledesic has announced that a Saudi Arabian prince has invested $US200 million in the satellite telecommunications company, which already boasts heavyweights such as Microsoft CEO Bill Gates among its investors.
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud finalised his cash investment this week in Los Angeles in a signing ceremony with Craig McCaw, Teledesic's chairman and one of its two chief executive officers, the company said.
Teledesic aims to build a satellite-based broadband network, the so-called Internet in the sky, by launching 288 low-orbit satellites by 2002, aimed at providing affordable telecommunications services around the world.
Considered one of the world's most savvy investors, Alwaleed is no newcomer to the high-tech field. Among his previous investment targets are companies such as Apple Computer and Motorola.
The multibillionaire prince, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, last week cashed in on the $590 million investment he made in Citicorp in 1991. The stake was valued at $7 billion following last week's announced merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group Inc.
"People worldwide have begun to understand that where the prince goes, opportunity follows," said McCaw, in a written statement announcing the deal.
Alwaleed, meanwhile, said in the statement that he shares McCaw's vision about providing high-speed data connections to businesses everywhere, and "particularly to parts of the world, including the Middle East and Africa, that would not get that broadband capability any other way."
Teledesic, based in Kirkland, Washington, can be reached at http://www.teledesic.com/.