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Saudi government takes $500m Live Nation stake

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has purchased 12.3m Live Nation shares, giving it a 5.7% stake in the world's biggest live entertainment company

By IQ on 27 Apr 2020

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is chairman of the PIF

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is chairman of the PIF

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has taken a 5.7% stake in Live Nation.

According to a document filed today (27 April) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the PIF has bought 12,337,569 shares – valued at just shy of US$500 million at the time of writing – in the world’s largest live entertainment company.

The fund is now reportedly Live Nation’s third-largest shareholder, with Liberty Media still No1 and investment company Vanguard Group second.

Live Nation’s share price rose above $40 for only the third time this month following the SEC disclosure, continuing a rally that began in late March following a sharp fall after its shows were postponed or cancelled globally.

The investment in Live Nation is the latest in the live sector for rapidly liberalising Saudi Arabia, which is pushing hard to grow its domestic events market in order to reduce its reliance on oil revenues.

PIF bought 12,337,569 shares, valued at just shy of US$500 million

Speaking after a BTS show last October, Live Nation Middle East’s president, James Craven, celebrated the growth of live entertainment in Saudi Arabia, saying: “Two years ago, no one would have ever expected us to bring in international touring artists into Saudi.

“I want the people in the industry to come and see the changes, come and see what’s happening and meet the people.”

Following the debut of Jeddah World Fest, the country’s first-ever popular music festival, two months earlier, organiser Robert Quirke was similarly full of praise for the transformation, telling IQ: “There is absolutely no doubt that this is a turning point in Saudi youth culture and live entertainment. The future is incredibly bright and full of hope for the new generation.”

Earlier this month, PIF governor Yassir al-Rumayyan revealed the fund is looking into investment opportunities in “areas such as aviation, oil and gas, and entertainment”, according to Reuters. Saudi Arabia took a stake in Carnival cruise lines shortly before.


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