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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