Saudi Arabia's PIF increases stakes in Meta and Alphabet in third quarter

The Public Investment Fund snapped up positions in Linde, the world's largest industrial gas group, and blank cheque company Compute Health

The Meta sign outside the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. Reuters
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Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund increased the size of its investments in Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, as well as Google parent Alphabet in the third quarter.

It also bought new stakes in Linde, the world's largest industrial gas company by market share and revenue, and blank cheque company Compute Health during the same period.

The Public Investment Fund raised its stake in Meta by 11 per cent to more than 3.26 million shares valued at about $443 million, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The PIF, which manages more than $620 billion in assets, boosted its investment in Alphabet to 4.26 million shares in the three-month period to the end of September, from 213,000 shares in the previous quarter, with the value of the position exceeding $407 million.

The value of the fund's total investments in US equities in the third quarter was about $36.8 billion across a portfolio that includes 53 companies.

The sovereign wealth fund lies at the centre of the kingdom's Vision 2030 plan to diversify the Arab world's largest economy and reduce its reliance on oil.

Under a five-year strategy announced last year, the PIF aims to more than double the value of its assets under management to $1.07 trillion and to commit $40 billion annually to develop Saudi Arabia's economy until 2025.

The fund has created 10 new sectors, set up more than 30 new companies, created 331,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia and more than tripled its assets in the past few years. Under its five-year plan, it will focus on 13 sectors as part of its core domestic strategy.

Other third-quarter investments include the purchase of more than 1.2 million shares valued at about $326 million in Linde, the world's largest industrial gas conglomerate by market share and revenue.

The fund also bought more than 7.49 million shares valued at about $74 million in Compute Health, a health technology special purpose acquisition company (Spac).

A Spac, or blank-cheque company, is a vehicle with no commercial operations that is formed to raise funds through a public listing and then acquire an existing company.

Spacs are established with the aim of carrying out a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganisation or similar business combination with one or more businesses.

Compute Health is led by chairman Omar Ishrak, who currently serves as the chairman of Intel and previously served as chief executive of Medtronic.

The PIF retained its 72.8 million shares in ride-hailing company Uber, with the value of its stake growing by 30 per cent to $1.93 billion in the third quarter.

The value of the fund's 2.85 million shares in South Korean e-commerce business Coupang, which is backed by Japan's SoftBank, rose by 31 per cent to $47.6 million. The PIF is an anchor investor of the SoftBank Vision Fund.

The PIF's largest investment remains in electric car company Lucid and is worth about $14.2 billion.

Lucid went public in July 2021 and plans to produce 155,000 cars a year at its new facility in Saudi Arabia, boosting its global production capacity to 500,000 EVs per year in the coming years.

Updated: November 24, 2022, 6:22 AM