Saudi Arabia Sovereign-Wealth Fund Invests in Disney and Others

Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, a Public Investment Fund (PIF) has acquired more than 5 million shares in Walt Disney at a value nearly $500 million. It has also purchased more than 3 million shares in Facebook valued at $520 million. And bought shares in other major corporations worth half a billion dollars each. These other corporations include Marriott International Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. This was according to the US regulatory filing on Friday.

In addition, the fund invested $522 million worth of financial stock in Citigroup Inc., and $488 million worth of financial stocks in Bank of America Corp, with a $714 million stake in Boeing CO. The Saudi Arabia $300 billion PIF has since emerged as the biggest bargain hunter in the world. All the purchases have been reported in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Friday filings only disclosed the fund’s public holdings.

Saudi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman initiated the sovereign-wealth fund in 2015 to diversify the country’s economy away from oil by investing in hydro-carbon free companies and industries. The fund is so far one of Saudi’s most substantial economy strategies, especially in such a time as this when global oil prices and demand have fallen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Through its PIF purchases and investments, Saudi stands to generate massive returns in the coming years after major economies recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The fund seeks to take advantage of the current crisis to expand its reach in the United States. Since the beginning of this year, the fund has been aggressively securing more US public holdings. In February, the fund reported stakes in Tesla and Uber only, later to sell its stake in Tesla. Its latest filing shows that it has added stakes in 23 new companies including ADP Bank of America, Boeing, IBM, and Marriott, making a total of nearly $8 billion.

The fund has a total of $10 billion in the US equity market, that it, including its previous $2 billion stake in Uber.

The Hollywood Reporter, on May 7, reported that the PIF is interested in expanding its Hollywood holdings as well. As it stands, many private firms are in desperate need of cash as the industry suffers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The fund has since approached the Warner Music Group with an acquisition in view, alongside other deals.

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