Saudi Arabia pumps money into Hollywood events company

Saudi Arabia is taking a stake in Endeavor, as part of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman's plan to diversify an oil-based economy.
Saudi Arabia is taking a stake in Endeavor, as part of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman's plan to diversify an oil-based economy. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (BLOOMBERG) - Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is taking a US$400 million (S$530 million) stake in Endeavor, one of Hollywood's biggest talent and event managers, as part of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman's plan to diversify an oil-based economy.

The purchase is the latest in a series of deals by the Public Investment Fund.

Endeavor, which stages events worldwide from New York Fashion Week to Ultimate Fighting Championship fights, could play a key role as Saudi Arabia rebuilds industries that have withered since movie theatres and other forms of cultural expression were banned more than 35 years ago.

One proposal under discussion would have the company work with Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority and General Entertainment Authority on projects from staging events to training athletes, sources said.

The Public Investment Fund is buying into Endeavor on similar terms as Singapore's GIC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which invested last August.

Two of the people said the fund would take a 7 per cent stake in Endeavor while another pegged it as a bit less.