Saudi Prince Al-Waleed buys some Lyft shares for $148mln

By Staff Writer

Feb 11, 2016 09:34 AM EST

Saudi Arabia's Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has acquired some shares from two prominent investors in Lyft Inc. The shares have been acquired at $148 million. Lyft's valuation soared to $5.5 billion from $275 million in May 2013.

Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund, a venture firm established by Peter Thiel, sold a part of their share holdings in Lyft to Saudi Arabia's Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and his Kingdom Holding Co. The acquisition of shares was done in December for $148 million, according to the sources. Lyft's larger series F round, it mobilized $1 billion directly from investors, General Motors and Prince Al-Waleed. 

The share sales by venture funds are part of their efforts to return more value to their shareholders. The venture capital fund investors have been waiting for long to witness substantial gains. Many startups postponed their initial public offers (IPOs) owing to the adverse conditions in the market, as reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Lyft is facing tough competition from Uber Technologies in the US market. Both the companies are spending heavily in exploring new markets. To gain more market share, both the companies are subsidizing the cost of low-price rides. At this juncture, Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund have decided to pull their money out of Lyft. 

Lyft Inc, a ride-hailing service provider and its valuation jumped up to $5.5 billion in the funding round from $275 million in May 2013, during which period Andreessen Horowitz invested about $90 million in Lyft. Founders Fun invested in Lyft in January 2013, as reported by Market watch.

Prince Al-Waleed's Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) has drawn up investment plans for 2016-18. The holding company's subsidiary Flynas is among these investments. Mohammed Fahmy, Chief Executive Officer, Kingdom Holding, didn't reveal details about the other companies.

Prince AlWaleed is the Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company. Kingdom Holding is considering an IPO or merger of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts or Four Seasons Holding, in which KHC along with Bill Gates owns 95 percent holding, according to Argaam.

Marc Andreessen, co-founder, Andreessen Horowitz, is a vocal evangelist of the recent technology boom. He supports the lofty valuations of startups. He is also considered to be a champion of Lyft and said the company had an opportunity as "there are a lot more people who want rides than own cars." Prince Al-Waleed is also supporting debt-ridden Euro Disney. He may participate in rights issue also. It's been proposed to raise $1.1 billion via rights issue. The amusement park Disney is taking all possible measures to reduce debt burden.

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