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InfoSpace.com: Bowing to the Prince?

It's certainly a nice time to have some cash in the bank. One person who has a hefty bank account is Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. He is the chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. and is renowned for being a savvy investor. Yesterday, he announced he signed some checks to buy shares ($1 billion in all) in both New and Old Economy companies. Apparently, he made much of his purchases when the market was in the worst stages of the correction, in April.

He likes such staples as Disney, Ford and Proctor & Gamble. He also bought such Internet staples as Amazon.com and eBay. However, the Prince has also has placed bets on smaller companies. One of the more interesting is InfoSpace.com . He bought $50 million in stock.

InfoSpace.com is basically an aggregator of content. But the company has been making great strides to push its content into the wireless realm. It's a good move. Analysts expect that more people will access the Net using wireless devices than desktop PCs. Currently, InfoSpace.com has deals with such wireless powerhouses as Verizon, AT&T, US West and GTE. The Infospace.com wireless services allows for shopping (one-click purchasing), messaging, money transfers, search engines, calendaring and scheduling.

In the last quarter, the company had $19 million in revenues, which was up from $5.3 million in the same period last year. The revenue backlog, in fact, is now at $75 million.

The company also knows how to generate profits. In the last quarter, profits were $1.9 million. The company has showed profits in the past four quarters.

The founder of the company, Naveen Jain, is a tough competitor. Then again, he was formerly with Microsoft. But he understands his limitations. Recently, he hired Arun Sarin as the new CEO. Sarin was the CEO of the US and Pacific/Asian regions for Vodafone AirTouch. Apparently, he is a whiz at managing subscriber growth.

Prince Alwaleed seems to have a knack for finding good values. Some of his best investments include Apple Computer and Citigroup. However, keep in mind that the Prince takes the long view. I'm sure he plans to hold his New Economy stocks for some time, which is good news for shareholders of InfoSpace.com.



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