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  • Home>UPDATE: What Saudi Arabia's purge of ministers, princes -- including the Buffett of the Middle East -- means for markets

    UPDATE: What Saudi Arabia's purge of ministers, princes -- including the Buffett of the Middle East -- means for markets

    UPDATE: What Saudi Arabia's purge of ministers, princes -- including the Buffett of the Middle East -- means for markets

    11/07/2017

    By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch

    More than five dozen princes, ministers and prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia have been arrested

    Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, appears to be flexing his muscle in what is being viewed by some as the latest, and most decisive, move to consolidate power as part of a sweeping program of economic and social reforms championed by the ascendant royal.

    Who is Mohammed bin Salman? Prince bin Salman is the son of current Saudi King Salman and heir apparent to the Saudi throne after being installed officially as heir to the throne back in June (https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-king-salman-ousts-nephew-as-crown-prince-installs-son-1498018510). The prince is known as "MBS" and is viewed as an ambitious and aggressive leader, eager to tighten his grip on power, with his father expected to step down late this year or in 2018.

    Read: Meet the prince leading the charge to wean Saudis off oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meet-the-30-year-old-titan-emerging-as-crude-oils-new-top-dog-2016-04-18)

    MBS is slated to lead the next phase of growth in Saudi Arabia, which includes weaning the most influential member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries from its reliance on crude-oil wealth. As a part of that agenda, MBS is spearheading an initiative known as Vision 2030, with plans for an initial public offering for Saudi Aramco, the country's behemoth energy company, seen as a crucial part of the effort.

    See:Trump asks Saudis to bring the massive Aramco IPO to New York (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/do-the-aramco-ipo-in-the-us-trump-asks-saudis-over-twitter-2017-11-04)

    Why was Saudi Arabia in the news over the weekend? More than five dozen princes, ministers and prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia, including prominent billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/saudi-prince-al-waleed-bin-talal-arrested-in-widening-corruption-crackdown-2017-11-05), considered a sort of Warren Buffett of the Middle East, were detained and their assets frozen in an anticorruption probe. Alwaleed, a nephew of the king's and owner of King Holding Co., is well-known in international investment circles for his investments in Citigroup Inc.(C)and technology notables like eBay Inc.(EBAY), Twitter Inc(TWTR), Apple Inc.(AAPL)and the privately held ride-sharing company Lyft.