CNN presenter Richard Quest recently interviewed Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, CEO, Kingdom Holding Company on his response to the death of Steve Jobs.
QUEST: The brilliance of Steve Jobs is more than just flare and design and innovation. When it came to the bottom line, when he rejoined the company, it was the results, they were nothing short of spectacular. In a moment, we are going to talk to one of Apple‘s key investors, Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia.
And if you bear with me, now, the prince bought his shares for Apple in 1997 at $9.50 a share. The rest, as they are so fond of saying is history. Because if you look at how the share price moved, well, you can really see, his highness-look, not only did he stay right the way through this period where they dropped down to $3.00 a share. He has now seen that share price rocket all the way up some 4,000, from $9.50 up to $380.
Nice work if you can get it. But it also, of course, came from the hard work of the company involved. And Prince Alwaleed joins me now, on the line, from Saudi Arabia.
Your highness, as you look at what happened, we will talk money in just a moment, but as you look at what happened, what are your memories of Steve Jobs?
PRINCE ALWALEED BIN TALAL, CEO, KINGDOM HOLDING CO.: (SPEAKING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
Thank you for having me on your program. When I began buying into Apple, when the price when down to a single digit, I had a meeting with him around 1997, 1998, and that was clearly before the iPod, iPhone, and iPad situation came into being, and he told me, I have a dream, Prince. I want to really to go and conquer the whole world and be competing with the Sony’s of the world and have consumer products. And he had this vision a long time before all these products, you know, stormed the whole world recently.
QUEST: Right, now, you then-you kept the faith with him, you saw the price rise, you saw the products. How worried are you that, frankly, Apple was Jobs, Jobs was Apple, and that the company now has some pretty difficult times ahead?
BIN TALAL: Well, clearly, Steve Jobs, the legend, that is not very easy to repeat. And I think that the history, the near history will prove that Apple is on the right track and I believe that his legacy will continue, because as they build a culture inside Apple, that really is to be reckoned with. And I always said that it is a three apples shaped world. It is the Adam’s apple, and Newton’s apple, and now Steve Jobs apple may have changed the whole world.
QUEST: You are not-I’ve got to ask you, and forgive the bluntness, with respect to the question. So you are not planning to sell out?
BIN TALAL: No, no, as you know, that when we entered at $9, now clearly as the stock has gone up have sold some. But clearly we still have some that we that we will always keep for a long time to come, for sure. Apple is a force to be reckoned with. And for sure you need to have Apple in your portfolio.
QUEST: Your Highness, we must just talk about one or two other matters, just very briefly.
If you take a look, at the moment, at the global economy, we saw the Bank of England today is increasing-it is printing money. ECB, non traditional, the U.S. How worried are you at what you see in the global economy at the moment, Sir?
BIN TATAL: What is needed now is a well-concentrated and well concerted effort, among all the central banks, and the countries of the world, whether they be the United States, Japan, European Union, to have a cohesive and coherent plan to tackle the crisis, until now is very much international in nature and not be localized to United States, or to Europe, and the Far East, and Japan.
QUEST: Right, and isn’t it surprising to you that three years after the start of this crisis, and as it is getting it is getting worse again, there isn’t that plan where the wall of money to put it right?
BIN TALAL: Well, I mean, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the countries, now it is worse because it is rated sovereign risks. So, think that the European Union has to get their house in order and have Germany, France and Italy, and a certain extent, we can also come in and create a plan and get a this thing moving again.
QUEST: Prince Alwaleed, many thanks. Very nice to talk to you on program. Much appreciate you giving us time this evening and that perspective, not only on the global economy, but of course, as one of the investors or Apple.