Saudi wealth fund boosts U.S. holdings with stakes in Citi, Boeing, Facebook



FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

May 16, 2020

By Saeed Azhar and Kanishka Singh

DUBAI/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has bought minority stakes in major American companies including Boeing <BA.N>, Facebook <FB.O> and Citigroup <C.N>, a regulatory filing showed, giving it a portfolio of nearly $10 billion in U.S.-listed stocks.

The $300 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been buying minority stakes in companies across the world, taking advantage of market weakness in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The PIF disclosed stakes worth $713.7 million in Boeing, ABOUT $522 million in Citigroup, $522 million in Facebook, $495.8 million in Disney <DIS.N> and $487.6 million in Bank of America <BAC.N>, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing https://bit.ly/3e2A01B on Friday showed.

The PIF has a nearly $514 million stake in Marriott <MAR.O> and a small holding in Berkshire Hathaway <BRKa.N>, according to the filing. The PIF also disclosed an $827.7 million stake in oil company BP <BP.L>, which has American Depository Receipts (ADRs) listed in the United States.

“The Saudi sovereign fund went shopping in Q1,” tweeted Ali Al-Salim, co-founder of Dubai-based consulting firm Arkan Partners, adding that it now held about $10 billion in U.S.-listed equities, up from $2 billion at the start of the year.

PIF’s strategy is two-pronged; building an international portfolio of investments and investing locally in projects that will help reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil.

The sovereign wealth fund was not immediately available to comment.

ENERGY GIANTS

The PIF has separately funded almost half of Japanese investor SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which has been hit by losses on technology bets.

Last month the PFI’s head, Yasir al-Rumayyan, said it was looking into investment opportunities in areas such as aviation, oil and gas, and entertainment, adding that there would be a lot of potential for investment opportunities once the coronavirus crisis passes.

The PIF disclosed an 8.2% stake in coronavirus-hit Carnival Corp <CCL.N> in April, sending the cruise operator’s shares nearly 30% higher.

The Saudi fund bought stakes in Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L>, Total <TOTF.PA>, Eni <ENI.MI> and Equinor <EQNR.OL> earlier this year , a source familiar with the transactions told Reuters on April 9.

The SEC filing on Friday showed it had a $483.6 million stake in Shell, a $222.3 million holding in Total and a $481 million stake in Suncor Energy <SU.TO>.

An earlier filing in Norway had shown the PIF had a 0.3% stake in oil and gas firm Equinor.

PIF already has a $2 billion stake in Uber Technologies <UBER.N> and electric car company Lucid Motors. It used to own a small stake in electric carmaker Tesla <TSLA.O>, but the latest filing did not show any exposure.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Pravin Char)





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