- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CAIRO (AP) — The Saudi billionaire with a stake in Citigroup has invested $500 million in General Motors, the U.S. auto giant whose shares returned to trading last week after its bankruptcy and bailout by Washington, his investment company said Tuesday.

Kingdom Holding Co. said Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and KHC’s buy-in amounts to 1 perecnt of GM’s value, with the decision to invest in the automaker based on “the global strength of General Motors brand, the relatively attractive offering price, and the company’s growth prospects in Brazil and China.”

The statement did not say how many shares were bought, or how KHC arrived at the 1 percent figure.

But the investment marks the latest expansion of Alwaleed’s expansive portfolio, which includes stakes in a broad range of international giants like Citigroup, News Corp. and Disney.

GM last week launched an initial public offering worth $15.8 billion, a move that signaled its resurrection following its fall into bankruptcy protection and the subsequent $50 billion bailout by U.S. taxpayers.

The automaker had hoped to tap into Mideast sovereign fund wealth or other weighty investors from the oil rich region. But KHC is so far the only major Gulf Arab investor to disclose an investment in the company.

“GM strongly came back to global competition, where the company was able to reduce its operating and fixed expenses, strengthen its financial position and returned to profitability,” KHC’s executive director of private equity, Ahmed Halawani, said.

“We are confident that the current management of GM is able to deliver growth and profits over the coming years. We will be able to achieve the expected return on this investment,” he said.

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