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Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed to hold onto full Twitter stake at IPO

The Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who invested $300 million (£190 million) in Twitter two years ago, has said he won't be selling any of his share when the firm goes public.

Twitter announced that it had filed for an initial public offering (IPO) last week, in a move to pay back its numerous investors who have pumped millions into the company.

Alwaleed also revealed that he expects the IPO to happen by the end of this year or early in 2014.

"Twitter is a very strategic investment for us. We believe that it is just beginning to touch the surface. We have invested $300 million in the company. We will be selling zero, nothing, at the IPO," he told Reuters.

"Clearly the speed they're moving with shows that they would like to IPO sooner than later. I believe it will happen either this year or early next year," he added.

Alwaleed, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, did not reveal if he plans to buy further shares in the firm when it goes public.

Twitter is expected by analysts to reach a valuation over $10 billion (£6.3 billion) once it is listed, however Alwaleed said he believes there is potential for this to be much higher.

"We hear that the company is valued at $14 billion-$15 billion (£8.8 billion-£9.4 billion) but there have been trades above this valuation. We believe it might be worth more than that.

"With the 300 million customers they have and half a billion tweets a day, the growth potential is tremendous," he said, adding that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is "very knowledgeable, very much trustworthy".

Twitter, follows social media rival Facebook in going public. Facebook had a very disappointing IPO last year, with its value dropping rapidly. The company has however recovered in the last few months and its share price hit an all time high last week.

Alwaleed said he has urged the senior Twitter management "not to repeat the mistakes of Facebook". "The lessons are not to brag too much, don't be greedy - I mean price it right and be realistic," he said.