Billionaire Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has snapped up $1 billion in bargains from the week's stock rout after waiting two years for the right moment.
Alwaleed, 43, jumped in during the selloff panic to buy shares of four bruised but strong companies $400 million of AOL, $400 million of Compaq Computer and $100 million each of Eastman Kodak and Xerox Corp.
It was no surprise that the bargain-loving prince went shopping.
In an interview two years ago on his yacht, Reem (named for his daughter) -- which he bought from Donald Trump Alwaleed said stocks were too overpriced for him, but vowed he'd move quickly when the prices tumbled at least 20 percent.
When the correction came this week, he and other well-heeled investors gobbled up blue chips and good tech stocks like candy.
"They were hammered badly," Alwaleed told Bloomberg. "The correction was one of those historic moments to seize."
Alwaleed said he tracked the stocks for two years and started making purchases six months ago: "When the stocks hit our target entry price, I would swiftly authorize buy orders."
The prince said he has no stomach for the high-flying .coms.
"I do not believe the market can sustain these incredibly high price-earnings ratios," he told Reuters.
"Some of these companies will survive, there's no doubt about that, but they cannot survive with these high-flying, crazy prices."
"I think eventually the market will sort itself out and distinguish between those who should be there, survivors who are making profits, and those who should not be there."
The prince was given a $15,000 stake from his oil-rich father two decades ago. Last August, Alwaleed's personal fortune was $15 billion and today it's $20 billion, he said.
His biggest gains came in Citigroup Inc., where he's the company's largest shareholder. Citigroup has gained about 30 percent since August, adding more than $2 billion to his personal wealth.
"Right now I'm at my top," the prince said.
He also holds about $800 million in Apple Computer, $700 million in Motorola and $1.7 billion of preferred shares in News Corporation, which owns The Post.
Through a family trust, Kingdom Holding Co., Alwaleed's latest AOL buy raised his stake in the largest ISP to $1.05 billion. AOL's stock is down 17 percent this year.
Alwaleed said he saw an opportunity when AOL shares fell after announcing its $160 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.
He even met with AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Case a month ago in Washington, D.C., to discuss the company, though Alwaleed said he didn't disclose he was accumulating shares.
"I always go and meet the chairman and CEO," he said. "I was very impressed by him. I liked his vision, I liked his grasp of the whole thing. The guy is solid as a rock."
For Alwaleed, timing and the right price are the most important things.
Apple is a prime example of his strategy.
"I bought Apple at $18 ... and look now, it's around $140," he said of the stock, unadjusted for a split four months ago. Apple closed today at $65, up $2.