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Saudi government buys $500 million stake in Live Nation

WORLD -
World News
April 29, 2020

An investment fund controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is now the third largest shareholder in Live Nation Entertainment (LNE), following its acquisition of a 5.7 per cent stake in the company. 

The sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF) stake, comprising 12,337,569 shares in LNE, was valued at around $500 million.

The investment is understood to have been purchased on the open market, meaning that rather than LNE receiving the funds, the money has gone to shareholders who sold stock. 

LNE has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, with more than 30,000 events cancelled or postponed globally. Since February LNE’s share price has fallen by nearly 50 per cent and the company has warned that sales were down 20 per cent during the first quarter of the year.

Earlier this month LNE announced a $500 million cost cutting exercise in a bid to counter the devastating impact of worldwide lockdowns. 

The LNE stake is the latest in a series of major investments by the Gulf kingdom, which include  a majority stake in English Premier League football club Newcastle United for £300m ($369m). Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia considerable investment has been pumped into developing a domestic live music industry. 

A bid by PIF to invest $400m stake in talent giant Endeavour, which owns agency WME, was reversed last year when the company returned the money  to the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

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