Saudis on buying spree; snap up $7.7bn stakes in top firms

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF has gone bargain hunting during the current economic turmoil, snapping up about $7.7 billion worth of shares in some of the best known companies in the world, reported Arab News.


The $300 billion Public Investment Fund bought stakes in global corporate leaders such as Boeing, Facebook, Disney, Marriott and Starbucks, stated the report citing a declaration to the US stock market regulator. 


It also invested in two big US banks, Citigroup and Bank of America, and took holdings in oil giants BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell, it added.


Stock market experts said the buying spree reflected confidence on the part of the PIF that companies badly affected by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic would recover quickly, and their share prices would rise.


A declaration to the US stock market regulator showed PIF having positions worth about $10 billion in 24 companies. The biggest, worth just over $2 billion, was an already declared holding in taxi app Uber.


The next biggest was an investment in BP, nearly 34 million shares valued at $827 million, followed by the Boeing stake for $713 million. Facebook and Citigroup stakes were valued at about $521 million each, stated the report.


The new PIF portfolio has a strong bias toward travel, entertainment and hospitality, with shareholdings in the Marriott hotel chain, the online travel company and events promoter Live Nation, said the Arab News report.


There is also interest in technology with investments in Cisco, Qualcomm and Broadcom, and in pharmaceuticals via a stake in Pfizer, it stated.


One notable smaller purchase was in Berkshire Hathaway, the vehicle of legendary investor Warren Buffet, who recently sold big stakes on a pessimistic view of future valuations, it added. 





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