Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said Citigroup is "definitely on the right track" and praised Chief Executive Vikram Pandit for "rehabilitating that bank and having it go back to where it should have been a long time ago."
In an interview Friday with Maria Bartiromo, the prince, a Citi investor for the past 20 years, said he thinks Citigroup is financially much stronger than before, as evidenced by the new dividend to shareholders. He believes the firm should remain independent because shareholders are beginning to reap the benefits of being patient.
"I believe any takeover of [Citigroup], any merger, does not make sense right now unless a viable proposal comes from an entity that can offer something. But I doubt that," he said.
The prince, the 26th richest man in the world, sees opportunities around the world including China, India, Latin America, Europe and the United States.
"We are looking all over the place," he said, likening his holding company to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in terms of policy and strategy. "You know whenever there is opportunity, we get involved. We are dynamic, we are much on the move."
He called the populist uprisings throughout the Middle East and Africa a "wakeup call for all the region, and Saudi Arabia is not immune from any of what's happening around us. I'm sure the King will begin looking at some political reforms in Saudi Arabia."
Watch the entire interview with Prince Al Waleed, including his comments about oil prices, on "The Wall Street Journal Report," with Maria Bartiromo, Sunday, May 22, 7:30pm ET