Saudi Arabia buys $500 million stake in Live Nation
Live Nation shares raised about 10% on Monday on the news that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund bought a 5.7% stake in the American events company, which is parent to Ticketmaster.

The stake, worth about $518 million based on the company’s current stock price, comprises 12,337,569 shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. The purchase by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund comes as Live Nation — the world’s largest concert and events promoter — is seeing revenues vanish as the coronavirus pandemic hammers the events industry and the global economy.

Live Nation’s stock price closed at $42.01 on Monday, up 9.86% from the previous day. With prospects for concerts dashed for what may be the rest of the year or longer, the stock is down more than 40% year-to-date. The company is currently implementing hiring freezes and furloughs, and has implemented 50% pay cuts for top executives, with its CEO Michael Rapino nixing his full salary.

Saudi Arabia’s investment makes its Public Investment Fund the third-largest shareholder in the company after Liberty Media Corp and Vanguard Group.

The purchase follows numerous reports of the Saudi wealth fund buying stakes in companies whose stock prices have been obliterated by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns around the world.

The apparent investment spree has even extended to sports — the Saudi fund is currently said to be in the final stages of a deal to take over Britain’s Newcastle United soccer club with an 80% stake worth $372 million.

The Public Investment Fund is the kingdom’s primary vehicle for expanding its domestic and international investments and is a key part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which is aimed at diversifying the country’s economy away from oil reliance. It oversees more than $300 billion in assets and has stakes in numerous major companies ranging from Uber and electric vehicle company Lucid Motors to a $45 billion investment in Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund.

Pictured:Public Investment Fund Managing Director Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan