Top Middle Eastern Funds and Investors Backing US Media and Entertainment

Winford Hunter
  • Governments and traders in the Middle East are pouring money into Western media and entertainment.
  • US buyers are keen to choose the cash as other funding resources have dried up. 
  • Insider broke down the resources of funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.

Sovereign cash and other entities in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE are pouring millions into US media and enjoyment, and they are finding plenty of takers.

Attention has focused on investments from Saudi Arabia, which is pumping income into leisure, tourism, and other industries to diversify its economic climate and present alone as a cultural reformer. Numerous market stakeholders who spoke to Insider explained the Saudis as disciplined and complex traders who see leisure as an economic accelerator. The Saudi regime also is aiming to attain cultural cash by fostering and endorsing tasks that portray the kingdom positively to outsiders.

That funding may well not have been so welcome 5 years ago, when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder — for which the US authorities held Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible — stoked outrage. Endeavor, the father or mother organization of expertise agency WME, the UFC, and other athletics and media companies, returned a $400 million investment decision to the Saudis, when other US firms slash Saudi ties. But time has passed, and some other sources of expenditure have dried up.

The channels for funds from Saudi Arabia and other areas of the Middle East are advanced. Along with the countries’ sovereign wealth funds, there are myriad non-public sources, but the lines involving community and private are usually blurred. In the UAE, for case in point, expenditure group IMI — which has interests in US media like Jimmy Finkelstein’s startup The Messenger — is part of the Abu Dhabi Media Financial investment Corporation, whose proprietor is a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family and also has individual investments in sporting activities.

Insider broke down the crucial entities — their proprietors, leaders, and significant-profile investments and joint ventures — in the prime a few Middle Jap nations pouring income into US leisure and media. This is a guideline to who’s laying out the funds and who’s benefiting.

Saudi Arabia

The Public Financial investment Fund (PIF)

The PIF is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign prosperity fund, with much more than $600 billion in property. It really is led by Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is also the chairman of the oil firm Saudi Aramco and chairman of Newcastle United — the PIF led a $409 million order of the English football club, getting an 80% stake, in 2021.

Among the its US media and leisure assets, the PIF took a almost 6% stake in Live Nation in 2020 for $500 million. And it rattled the skilled golf entire world in 2022 with the launch of LIV, a new professional league competing with the PGA that has weathered numerous controversies above its Saudi connections.

MBC Team

MBC Team is a broadcasting giant that is reportedly at the very least 60% owned by the Saudi govt. It describes alone as the greatest media firm in the Center East and North Africa and runs one particular of the biggest Tv information channels, Al Arabiya. The enterprise runs general amusement streaming provider Shahid, which statements it is more substantial than Netflix on subscriber figures in the region.

In January MBC inked a offer for programming with Vice Media that in time could be really worth $50 million, whilst MBC has editorial control in the area, in accordance to an job interview with Range. A person of Vice’s other backers, Netherlands-based Antenna Team, which operates no cost to air channels in Greece, also counts MBC as an trader. MBC has a 30 percent stake in the enterprise, according to stories.

MBC Group’s founder and chairman is Saudi businessman Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim. Its Dubai-based CEO, is Sam Barnett, who returned to the business in 2020 soon after stepping down as chief in 2019. MBC’s former controlling director, Peter Smith — who was  beforehand an government with Antenna Team, CEO of Cineflex Studios, and NBCUniversal Worldwide president — departed his role in January and was succeeded in February by former Amazon, Cineflex, and AMC exec Christina Wayne. 

Saudi Investigation and Media Group (SRMG)

Publicly traded participant SRMG is a major publisher of print and online journals and runs marketing and advertising operations. It has near ties to the Saudi authorities of Mohammed bin Salman. Its CEO is Jomana R. Alrashid, who is also the chairman of the Purple Sea Intercontinental Film Festival’s foundation, which is on board as a co-producer of an approaching Johnny Depp element, “Jeanne du Barry.” The 2nd Red Sea fest in Jeddah in December drew the likes of Sharon Stone, Bruno Mars, and Luca Guadanigno, and a 3rd edition is prepared for November.

Penske Media Corporation, the publisher of Deadline, Variety, and other amusement trade publications, has taken financial commitment from SRMG, and Bloomberg Media is partnering with the corporation on an Oct summit in Riyadh. 

Vince McMahon’s WWE was a person of the to start with US companies to produce unique functions in Saudi Arabia. It has an agreement with the country’s Basic Entertainment Authority, chaired by Turki Al-Sheikh, to operate together via 2027 and has fully commited to a big annual event. 

Cultural Enhancement Fund

Another Saudi expenditure resource is the Cultural Advancement Fund, founded in 2021, which in March announced the start of its Movie Sector Financing System, with $233 million to again area and global corporations that want to help the Saudi film sector. The fund’s CEO is Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Dayel, who has levels from George Washington College and American University.


Qatar Investment Authority

Headquartered in Doha, the country’s key investment car or truck is the Qatar Investment decision Authority or QIA, which is led by Hassan Al-Thawadi. Amongst its extra recent investments is a $150 million progress money infusion with Peter Chernin and Providence Equity’s manufacturing roll-up The North Road.

BeIN Media Group

BeIN is a Qatar state-owned athletics and enjoyment community broadcasting in the Center East, Europe, Americas, and somewhere else. It was established in 2014 and is headed by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, also the president of football club Paris Saint-Germain. In 2016, BeIN obtained the film studio Miramax for an undisclosed sum, providing 49% of it in 2020 to ViacomCBS (now Paramount Worldwide).

Doha Movie Institute

The Doha Film Institute is focused on developing the Qatari movie industry. Established in 2010 by H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, it has backed impartial films together with animated drama “Loving Vincent” and Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-profitable “The Salesman.” In 2013, it created a $100 million offer with Participant Media to deliver 12 or additional movies a year, but the enterprise was afterwards scrapped, for each The Hollywood Reporter.

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

The UAE has accelerated its efforts to develop into a media and amusement hub which is welcoming to Western businesses. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign prosperity fund, has been partnering with Hollywood studios on tasks since as considerably again as 2008. And Dubai Studio City has hosted key productions which include “Star Trek Beyond” and “Mission Unattainable: Ghost Protocol,” while Dubai Media Town is home to companies like National Geographic and BBC News.

Intercontinental Media Investments

Worldwide Media Investments (IMI) is a privately owned investment business whose portfolio features The Countrywide newspaper, CNN Company Arabic, and pursuits in Sky News Arabia and Euronews. Led by CEO Nart Bouran, a vet of Sky News Arabia and Reuters, it has a minority financial commitment in JAF Communications, Jimmy Finkelstein’s firm that owns news startup The Messenger IMI was a backer of US explainer web page Grid News, which JAF acquired in March and has now shuttered, for every Axios. IMI has also partnered with ex-CNN manager Jeff Zucker and RedBird Cash Associates on RedBird IMI to spend in media and entertainment.

IMI is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Media Financial investment Company, which is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also acknowledged as Sheikh Mansour, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family who also has important private investments in sports activities, most notably soccer’s Manchester Town.

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