Saudi Arabia Buys $500 Million Stake in Live Nation

Saudi Arabia Buys $500 Million Stake in Live Nation
The government of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has purchased a 5.7 percent stake in entertainment giant Live Nation.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund disclosed the stake of over 12 million shares today in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The acquisition now makes the Public Investment Fund Live Nation's third-largest shareholder, with the investment being just shy of $500 million USD.

The deluge of concert and event cancellations and postponements caused by coronavirus has seen Live Nation announce a series of cost-cutting strategies. Earlier this month, the company launched a support fund for industry workers affected by the pandemic, while CEO Michael Rapino gave up $3 million of his salary.

This month also saw Live Nation and ticketing arm Ticketmaster come under fire after the ticketing giant changed its policy to only provide refunds for concert events that were cancelled, while denying refunds for events that had only been postponed or rescheduled.

Following criticism and threats of class action lawsuits, the company launched a formal refund process earlier this week.

Reuters reported earlier this week that the Public Investment Fund had been looking to invest in areas such as aviation, oil and gas and entertainment, in anticipating an economic rebound following the further containment of coronavirus. 

"There will be economies up and running," Public Investment Fund head Yassir al-Rumayyan said during an online investment forum last Thursday (April 23). "We will see a lot of potential."

Entertainment firms have been wary of taking investment from companies tied to Saudi Arabia following the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.