Saudi Arabia Investment Fund Acquires $500 Million Stake in Live Nation

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has purchased a stake in Live Nation worth about $500 million, Variety reports.

The Public Investment Fund acquired a 5.7 percent stake totaling around 12.3 million shares in the music industry giant, according to new filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The PIF is now the third-largest shareholder of Live Nation, with Liberty Media being the biggest with a 33 percent stake.

News of the investment reportedly bumped up Live Nation shares to $42.01 from its previous close of $38.24. Live Nation’s stock price has been hit particularly hard this year because of COVID-19’s devastating impact on the live music industry (back in February, before the virus was really spreading in the Untied States, Live Nation shares were valued at over $75).

To ease the company’s new financial burden, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said earlier this month that he would forgo the rest of his $3 million salary (though he may still receive additional compensation through bonuses), while other top executives would also take pay cuts of up to 50 percent. Other cost-cutting measures include hiring freezes, the reduction of the use of contractors, rent renegotiations and furloughs.

The PIF’s investment in Live Nation comes as many American companies, especially entertainment and media firms, remain reluctant to accept money from Saudi Arabia following the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In 2018, the PIF acquired a minority stake in Rolling Stone‘s parent company, Penske Media Corp.

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