On November 20th, 2008 it was announced that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought up shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C) increasing his holdings to 5% of the total outstanding shares. The move seemed quite daring at the time as Citigroup’s shares were in freefall dropping 25% in the previous trading day alone (down over 90% in the past year).
Today the US Government announced that it would bailout Citigroup in a deal that will result in the cash injection of $20 billion as well as a guarantee of over $300 billion of Citi’s toxic debt. The news of the proposal sent Citigroup’s shares soaring over 50% for the day.
The Saudi Prince, being the largest shareholder of the company, was the biggest beneficiary of the announcement. One has to wonder if his superb market timing was merely a coincidence or something more?