By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Live Nation's share prices have dropped 45 percent for the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has purchased a stake in Live Nation entertainment in a deal valued at approximately $500 million, the company has revealed.
In US Securities and Exchange Commission filings released Monday, the PIF disclosed that it owned 5.7 percent of the company, totalling 12.3 million shares.
The PIF’s stake in Live Nation rose beyond 5 percent on April 16, the filing noted.
The PIF is now the company’s third largest shareholder. Its primary shareholder is Liberty Media, which owns a 33 percent stake in the company.
Live Nation has struggled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led share prices to plummet 45 percent for the year. Shares now hover at approximately $39, compared to $75 in mid-February.
To bolsters liquidity during the crisis, the company has opened a $120 million revolving credit account, amended an existing credit agreement and reducing costs, including through salary reductions.
Saudi Arabia also took a $775 million stake in Carnival Cruises, another firm that has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
In October, James Craven, the president of Live Nation’s Middle East division, said that the company was excited by opportunities in the Saudi market.
“It’s a new story, and we are spending a lot of time explaining what is happening [in Saudi Arabia] and talking about Saudi Arabia,” he was quoted as saying by Arab News. “There is nothing more hospitable than the Saudi people. That’s a reality.”