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Saudi Arabia On A Pandemic Bargain Hunt, Buys Shares in Facebook, Disney, Boeing, Others

Shivdeep Dhaliwal

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and buying stocks worth millions in the United States companies.

What Happened

The oil-rich kingdom’s $300 billion sovereign-wealth fund has picked up shares worth half a billion dollars each in Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Marriott International Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO).

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has also invested $522 million in Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and $488 million in Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC). The fund picked up a $714 million worth stake in Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) as well. 

The fund is responsible for leading Saudi Arabia away from its hydrocarbon centered economy and has the mandate to invest in companies unrelated to the oil sector. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is the chairman of the PIF.

Why It Matters

The PIF has been investing in global stocks during the ongoing pandemic and crash in oil prices, making the kingdom’s financial position extremely vulnerable, according to MarketWatch.

The Saudi government last week increased the value-added tax, and cut subsidies to state employees to deal with economic pressures resulting from declining oil revenues.

Last month, the Saudi government fund invested $500 million each in the global entertainment firm Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: LYV) and the cruise operator Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL).

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