Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund US stock holdings increased 21% in the first quarter

The Public Investment Fund increased its investment in game developers and bought into South Korean e-commerce giant ​​​​​​​Coupang

The value of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund's investment in US equities increased 21% in the first quarter from the end of last year. AFP 
The value of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund's investment in US equities increased 21% in the first quarter from the end of last year. AFP 

The value of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund investments in US equities increased 21 per cent in the first quarter from the end of last year.

The Public Investment Fund's investment in US stocks increased to $15.4 billion in the first three months of the year from about $12.8bn at the end of 2020, according to a regulatory filing.

The fund more than doubled its investment in video game company Activision Blizzard to 33.4 million shares, valuing its position a $3.1bn. It also increased its stake in game developer Electronic Arts to 14.2 million shares valued at $1.9bn, from 7.4 million at the end of last year.

The fund's shares in a third game developer, Take-Two Interactive Software, also increased about 42 per cent to 5.6 million shares, valued at about $997 million.

The sovereign wealth fund lies at the centre of the kingdom's Vision 2030 plan that seeks to diversify the Arab world's largest economy and reduce its reliance on oil. Under its five-year strategy that was announced in January, the fund aims to more than double the value of its assets under management to $1.07 trillion and to commit $40bn annually to develop the domestic economy until 2025.

The fund created 10 new sectors, launched over 30 new companies, created 331,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia, and tripled assets under management to nearly $400 billion over past four years. Under its five-year strategy the fund will focus on 13 sectors as part of its core domestic strategy. The fund has established entities including the futuristic city known as Neom, the Red Sea Development Company, Qiddiya and Saudi Entertainment Venture, among others, to develop the kingdom's nascent tourism and entertainment sector.

The latest regulatory filing shows that the fund maintained its 50.8 million shares in US cruise liner operator Carnival Corporation, which was impacted by the coronavirus crisis, but has since rebounded with the roll out of vaccines. Its value has increased 22 per cent from the last quarter to $1.35bn.

The fund retained its 72.8 million shares in ride-hailing company Uber, but their value increased nearly 7 per cent to $3.97bn in the first quarter.

The PIF, which is an anchor investor of the SoftBank Vision Fund, bought more than 2.8 million shares worth $141 million in the South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang that is also backed by the Japanese group.

The fund also bought nearly 7.5 million shares worth $75.7m in Compute Health Acquisition Corporation, a blank-cheque company set up by Intel chairman Omar Ishrak.

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Updated: May 18, 2021 03:32 PM

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